Tag Archives: joan

Wednesday 23rd March 2022 – A FUNNY THING …

workman suspended on rope rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022 … happened on the way to the for … errr … Physiotherapist’s this afternoon.

There I was walking quietly along the Rue Couraye and suddenly a man dropped down out of the sky right in front of me.

At least, that’s what I thought, but on a closer inspection after he had picked up the paintbrush or whatever it was that he had dropped and was hoisted back up, I could see that he was on a rope.

Cleaning or painting the facade of the building here, I reckon, or doing something of a similar nature.

But fancy a safety harness. When I retiled my roof in the Auvergne I was perched about 50 feet up on a roof holding on with my feet as I nailed down the slates.

And another funny thing that happened was that I walked all the way up the hill in the Rue Couraye to the physiotherapist’s without feeling any agony and it’s been months and months since that’s happened. So what’s going on here?

There was a lot going on last night though. I was in bed early and, for a change, out like a light. Another struggle to raise myself from the dead, and after I’d had my medication and checked my mails and messages, I could listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been.

At first, I was at an interview with STRAWBERRY MOOSE on the radio. The presenter was an extremely dominant and aggressive type of personality who basically shouted at the crowd to make everyone settle down and listen to his story. It was certainly a new departure in radio to hear the way that this programme was being presented. I thought that maybe I could take a lesson from this when I’m presenting some other radio programme some time in the future. It was certainly different, telling everyone to “shut up and listen” and “he’s come all this way to give you this story and the least you can do is pay attention”. it was all quite aggressive

Later, I was at work in the office and the ‘phone rang. I had to bring the Escort estate into Brussels. They were selling it so I had to hunt through my drawers for all of the paperwork for it but I couldn’t find anything. There was nothing at all. The boss had said “make sure that you bring the paperwork because we don’t want to have to come up to your place to look for it”. There I was, looking for ages through my drawers and I couldn’t find it anywhere but then 2 people came in and heard that I was going into Brussels so could they come with me? They hopped in and I thought that i’d better go anyway otherwise I’ll be here all day and I still won’t have the paperwork. Off I set to drive. After I’d gone a few miles I found that I actually had the paperwork in my hand. Of course someone must have had the paperwork to have taken the Escort to be valued. I had that as I was driving. I ended up coming in from the direction of Oostende. I radioed in that I was there and asked where I had to go. They said “the Garage de France”. I asked where that was and they replied that it was near the Gare de Ouest. I didn’t have a clue where the Gare de Ouest was. As I came closer to the office I dropped off these 2 people and stuck my head inside a café. She knew where the place was and she told me but the directions that she gave me didn’t make any sense. Then she said the name of a square where it was. I thought to myself “I wish that I’d brought my GPS in out of my own car and stuck it in the Escort to take it there. I could have solved this problem in 5 minutes had I done that”.

And then I was back in work again. I don’t know if I’d dictated the story of the Ford Escort estate being sold but later I was back in the office. I had a pile of paperwork that I’d picked up on the way in that needed to be sorted. I took it into the office and one of the chauffeurs came up to me and said in one of these high-pitched little baby voices “what’s little Eric got there?”. So I replied “some paperwork”. He asked “what’s little Eric going to be doing with it?” and I replied “nothing whatsoever”. This conversation was on the verge of getting out of hand. In the end the boss came along so as I was in earshot I said to Jef (it’s here, it has a date-stamp on it, it’s been received, it’s been registered, so why don’t you clear off?” or something like that. The boss came over, looked at the papers, took them off me and put them out for sorting. There was no chair at my desk but there were several other chairs dotted around with files on them so I went to take the files off one so I could have a chair to sit. Someone else said “there’s a spare chair up here” but I replied “this one down here will do me”.

At another point I was with one of these American folk singers, someone like Gene Clark, and we were being chased in a car down some kind of road. We turned off up the side down some kind of farm track and were being chased down there but I swerved off the road into a farm gateway and the other car went roaring past. We prepared to drive back where we’d come but another car came the other way. We’d been talking about these huge plants that were growing all over the placen one-eyed I-can’t-remember-the phrase-now but it was in a song by the Byrds, “My Back Pages”. This car came the other way and I asked “is that one of these?” and I said the name. He replied “probably” so we waited until it went. We thought that if he could go all the way through then so could we so I set out to follow it. He said “let’s forget about these plants for now and head off”, something that made me feel rather disappointed

Finally, we’d gone to a big village hall-kind of dance, the whole family, tribe. Our mother had taken us. She was, surprisingly, a big Afro-Caribbean woman. When the dancing took place she danced in a most uninhibited way. It had absolutely no interest for me whatsoever so I was just moping around at the back of the hall. eventually I went over to my mother and said that we really must have to go very soon. She asked the time and I replied “20:20”. For some reason we were due to go at 20:30 anyway. She started to collect everything together. She said that she first came to one of these dances when she was 15 and everyone was shocked and scandalised but even people like James Brown had stuck their head in to see what was happening. I hadn’t really any idea of what to say because I knew how my mother was with her imagination.

Yes, my mother had a very fertile imagination, as we came to realise as we grew older. She lived in her own little world that only rarely had any connection with the rest of the world in which everyone else lived.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday I mentioned that I’d had a problem with a three-column website on which I was working. It didn’t take me long to discover the missing tag (or, should I say, the tag that was in the wrong place) and once I’d done that, I finished it off.

You can see it ON-LINE now. The content isn’t inspiring but it was only a test run for a few other purposes that will become clearer over the course of time.

It’s been checked in C-Cleaner, Waterfox and Tor but if someone has access to an Apple-based machine, if you could check it to see that it does what it’s supposed to, I’d be grateful.

Having dealt with that task, the next task was one about which I’d forgotten. At the end of October last year I’d been to see a rock group called “Reload”. I took … gulp … 184 photos and I’d made a start on editing them but as usual, I’d been side-tracked.

This morning though, I sat down and worked my way right through the lot and they are all now edited. I’m now onto mounting them (I’m kinky like that) and they will be on-line in die course.

That will be the acid test of my three-column photo layout – trying to make it work with all of these.

There were several breaks of course – breakfast being one of them with my lovely fruit bread, and then a shower and a good clean-up.

And while I was at it, I did my Dave Crosby impression. In fact I went one better and actually did cut my hair. Probably because I didn’t have the ‘flu for Christmas.

After lunch I headed out for the physiotherapist.

van car porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And we’ve had a change here at the Porte St Jean.

The large lorry and trailer with the digger perched thereupon are not there this afternoon. Instead the place has been taken by a glazier’s van.

In fact that has been there or thereabouts in one of the parking spaces for the past couple of days but today it seems that the driver has taken advantage of the absence of the lorry to move even closer.

In fact, I would have thought that he could have passed underneath the arch. There looks to be enough room.

On the left-hand edge you can see some advertising boards that have been erected. It’s soon to be election time here and they put up these boards for the candidates to attach their posters.

jade 3 port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne, I stopped to check the camera – even though I’d checked it just a minute before.

There’s no-one about in the outer harbour and most of the fishing boats in the inner harbour seem to be out at sea. The only one that seems to be in there today is Jade III and I wonder why she hasn’t gone out.

Also absent, as they have been for quite a while, are Victor Hugo and Granville, the two Channel Island ferries. If service is indeed starting up in April, they need to finish their overhauls quickly and make their way back here to be ready to go.

freight on quayside bouchot stakes port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Down on the quayside, all of the freight that was there has now gone.

Normandy Trader, one of the little Jersey freighters, came in the other day and whisked it all off to the Channel Islands but there’s another pile that is slowly appearing down there ready for the next voyage.

And you can see all of the old stakes from the bouchot farms on the Ile de Chausey down there to the left of the right-hand crane. That was a good weekend’s work to pull up all of those and replace them.

Whoever is going to take those away will have some work on his hands too.

joly france port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Meanwhile, down in the bottom corner, there’s been quite a lot happening by the looks of things.

There’s only one boat down there today, and that’s the newer of the two Joly France boats, the one with the smaller superstructure on the upper deck.

We saw Chausiaise out at the ferry terminal yesterday, but Belle France is also missing today. She and the older of the two Joly France boats must be keeping busy running out to the islands today.

And the mystery of why they all had their cranes out the other day is as yet unresolved. I’ve not seen anything at all about it.

reroofing rue lecampion Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022A week or so ago I posted a photo of a cherry-picker that looked as if it had lifted some scaffolding up onto a flat roof in the Rue Lecampion.

Over the past few days I’d been keeping a quiet eye on it but today there has been some rapid progress since I last saw it. They’ve removed the tiles from an adjacent pitched roof and replaced all of the woodwork

That was quite quick. It’s not like the typical worker whom we’ve encountered these days.

Carefully dodging workmen dropping out of the sky, I sailed up the Rue Couraye rather more rapidly than just recently for my appointment with the physiotherapist.

She had a good look at my x-rays but told me that there was nothing evident that she could see about why I’m having this trouble with my knee. And that’s bad news as far as I’m concerned because how can anyone fix the problem if they can’t see t?

It’s just like my heart issue, where there’s no obvious problem that anyone can see. I’m not making it all up, I know that.

Anyway she gave me an electromassage, put me on the bike thing for 5 minutes and gave me a few exercises.

After she threw me out, I went to Lidl. I’m out of tomatoes and cucumber as well as a couple of other things. And there’s no big shop at the weekend because I’m on a course and anyway, I’m off on my travels on Thursday next week.

new building rue st paul rue victor hugo Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On the way home I went past the new house that is being built on the corner of the Rue St Paul and Rue Victor Hugo.

When I arrived the builders were busy chasing away a couple of kids who were pleying in the building, but apart from that there doesn’t seem to have been a great deal going on. I suppose that they will finish it one day.

My route led me through the town and up the hill towards home but I hadn’t gone far up the hill when a neighbour came past in his car. He offered me a lift, which was nice of him I did have a fair bit of stuff to carry.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Back in here I put some coffee on to brew and then picked up the big NIKON D500 to go outside.

Across the car park went I towards the beach to see what was happening there. The tide was well out and with the weather being so nice, there were plenty of people down there making the most of it. Of course, here in France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoon.

While I was here, I had a look out to sea to see if there were any fishing boats working out here today. There was something right out beyond the Ile de Chausey that I couldn’t see, but that was really my lot. There wasn’t anything else happening out at sea that I could see.

55-qj aeroplane baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Ther emight have been nothing going on out at sea but there was something having a go at the Thunderclap Newman impression of “Something In The Air”.

And don’t ask me what it is because its number, 55-QJ, is one of those that isn’t in the series of numbers to which I have access. And it goes without saying that she hasn’t filed a flight plan and wasn’t picked up on radar either.

Back here I had my coffee and then had half an hour or so on the guitar before I carried on with mounting the photos of the concert that I attended.

Tea was a curry with the left-over stuff in the fridge. I’ve not forgotten that I have some stuffing left from Monday, but I fancied a curry tonight. I’ll have the stuffing in a taco roll tomorrow.

So as well as that, I have a Welsh lesson tomorrow. In the afternoon too, not the evening as I thought. I wonder what kind of catastrophe this will be.

Saturday 5th March 2022 – WHILE YOU ADMIRE …

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… a few photos of the 120-odd people who turned up spontaneously outside the Mairie in Granville at midday for an impromptu show of support for Ukraine, I’ll tell you about my really miserable night last night.

And when I say “miserable” I really DO mean “miserable” because last night, in a sleep that went on theoretically for just a little over 8 hours, there were no fewer than 14 entries on the dictaphone and that must be something of a record in anyone’s language.

And so it will be no surprise to anyone to learn that when I awoke this morning with the alarm I was thoroughly, completely and absolutely overwhelmed with fatigue.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Although it wasn’t until very much later that I transcribed the dicatphone notes, it’s probably a good idea if I insert them here so that we can keep things in order.

Last night I was standing up but suddenly I fell forward and knocked over this tripod that had some kind of equipment on it like camera equipment or dictaphone equipment. Then I realised that I was wearing a soldier’s uniform and I’d been arrested or captured, something like that

And then there was something about a cucumber rolling around in the bed and I’ve no idea at all what that was all about.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And then later on I was out with a friend of mine from Brussels. We’d started off at work – we were working together – and then we decided that we would go for a walk. There’s a bride being married in a couple of days and she was having an exhibition so off we went. We had a lengthy heart-to-heart chat about all kinds of things that had happened between us 20 years ago. It was an extremely intimate discussion. She ended up saying “if only you hadn’t been married, if only you hadn’t been middle-aged” etc. It was a really deep discussion. The bride had settled herself down so we decided that we would go and look. I knew that there was a phrase that you had to use but I couldn’t remember what it was. We walked past this tent and a little head popped out – a little girl. I said “cuckoo, are you getting married?” and she blushed and went back, stuck her head back inside. I could see inside that the bride was asleep in the corner of the tent and there were 3 goats in there as well. I was trying to work out the ritual nature of all of this.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I actually missed out a few things in that story about my friend in Brussels. I can’t remember who I was with at first but we were coming in late for work and we heard people talking about the “Naz” department store. I arrived at work and asked someone what had happened about the department store. They replied that it had fallen down. I asked if it was any relation to the fire a few days ago somewhere. They said “no”. This guy was very interested in telling me so much more about so many different things but I wasn’t interested in hearing them. On my way back to my desk with whoever it was I said that we really need to be in work earlier because we are pushing the boundaries and we need to do better than this and make every effort to arrive at work earlier. When I was walking with my friend we could see in the distance a load of white smoke that might either have been from the collapse of “Naz” or whatever it was called or else the remains of this big fire

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022. Back at home later I was talking to my mother and one of my sisters. I said where I’d been and that many years ago when my blog was in hiatus I used to read books and I’d underline or highlight phrases in books that actually meant something. When I’d been writing my blog subsequently and re-read one of these books and came to a phrase that I’d noted, I’d mentioned it in relation to her. She’s read my blog and seen these references etc but was still interested in coming out with me for a chat. I thought “well, there’s hope yet, isn’t there?”

So there were pirates who stopped a boat and they put everyone ashore. There was a flag that they were flying that had five rings on it like the Olympic flag. I had no idea to engage in this fight so I didn’t go but they swarmed onto this other boat and started hacking the other defenders about to see whether it was going to take them

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And here I am doing it again – dictating a dream when I have no dictaphone with me. I was on a boat somewhere in the Indian or South Pacific Ocean and I was talking about the time that I’d been on a voyage of discovery with my Belgian friend – and fell asleep again in the middle of it – but basically what this was about was something about me being there and maybe taking a boat to Japan and back to the USA. There was a lot more to it than this but unfortunately I can’t remember anything and that’s really disappointing.

And later again I was out on the Pacific on yet another ocean liner with someone else when the subject of this girl in Belgium came up again but I don’t know where it went from here. But how many times last night was it that she put in an appearance?

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Next time I was in the American cavalry in a dark-blue uniform. There was a person of colour in the troop. We came across this girl and noticed her bounty of seventeen dollars which we thought was quite a lot for her seeing as she was an Indian so we resolved to kill her. She was killed in the struggle but handed her jacket all the same to create an entry to receive this money

And yet again dictating in my sleep but it was one on those things where the ones I was with would go and sort out some enemy checks or something like that so we set off in a car and drove. As we drove around the headland we saw the ruins of a castle across a bay that looked very close. We suddenly realised that we had gone within earshot of these particular people and so we’d better not say any more in case they overheard us.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022I was at University last night waiting for morning classes to start and I’d been talking to Rosemary on the ‘phone and I said something like “why don’t you come up?”. When I finished I went back into the classroom and took my seat but suddenly Rosemary turned up. I had to go out to see her and talk to her. I sent her off to the cafeteria because our lecture was about to begin. Back in there the cat was on the windowsill so I went to stroke it. Someone said “that’s my cat” but I said that anyone could stroke it as far as I’m concerned. I found that someone else had taken my seat so I had to look for another empty one. Then I had to go through my timetable to find out what lessons I had for the rest of the week so I could go down when this one finished and talk to Rosemary. There were a couple of conversation lessons I couldn’t miss and one or two other things but there was still a fair amount of time so I had to sit down and think about making a plan that I could take to Rosemary in 40 minutes when this lecture finished.

beach rue ru nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After the medication and checking my mails and messages (and having a little relax too) I set off to go into town to do a little shopping. I need some mushrooms for the pizza tomorrow and also a baguette for my Saturday treat.

As usual, I went off to have a look at the beach to see what might have been going on down there today. And one look at what is supposed to be the beach will tell you that there wasn’t anything whatever going on down there right now.

And for an obvious reason too. The tide is right in today at probably its fullest extent and that’s put a stop to everything. You can see now how it’s possible for people to be cut off from the steps.

yachts baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I was also looking out to sea to see what I could see.

Right out on the horizon in the Baie de Granville are a couple of yachts. At least, one of them is a yacht and I’m not quite sure what the other one is.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful day out there this morning but there’s plenty of haze around farther out and the Channel Islands are obscured which is a shame. I was hoping that we might have had a really good view of St Helier today.

And that reminds me – the ferry service is supposed to be starting up some time soon. I must make further enquiries.

cabin cruiser marker light baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022One thing that regular readers of this rubbish might recall is that a few days ago we say the marker on the rocks just off the headland here right out of the water.

Today of course, it’s a completely different story. You can see that it’s almost submerged and that will give you a really good idea of how high the tide is. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … we have some of the highest tides in Europe just here.

Of course, with the tide being as it is, the harbour gates will have been open for quite a while and that will account for the yachts, and also for the cabin cruiser that’s out there. At first I thought that it might be fishing but judging by its wake it’s in rather a hurry and presumably heading out to the Ile de Chausey.

pointe de grouin brittany coast Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022The view out to sea might have been obscured by haze this morning but the view along the coast was one of the best that we have ever had.

Although I had to enhance this photograph quite considerably, it shows a really good view of the lighthouse at the Pointe de Grouin on the headland at the entrance to the bay on the Brittany side.

That’s of course where we spent our first night when we were out and about on the Spirit of Conrad in summer 2020.

It was here that I had a ‘phone call about the Demonstration at lunchtime so I abandoned my shopping trip and headed home for a shower and clean-up and to find some blue and yellow clothes.

demonstration manifestation ukraine place charles de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022On leaving the apartment I’m grabbed my ZOOM H8 to record whatever might be happening.

There wasn’t enough time to check the batteries – I use it on the mains here – and so it goes without saying that the batteries were flat. And so were the spare ones too.

But anyway the talk that we were given only lasted for a couple of minutes and that was that. I wandered around taking a few photos until everyone dispersed.

A couple of friends from the radio were here so we all went for a coffee and a chat.

On the way home I popped into Carrefour for the mushrooms and baguette and then crawled slowly (and it was slowly too because I wasn’t feeling too good after my bad night) back home where I had lunch.

This afternoon was pretty slow. Transcribing all of the dictaphone notes took an enormous amount of time and there was also at least an hour and a half when I crashed out completely, absolutely and definitely.

There was football too on the internet – Penybont v Caernarfon. Penybont hit the woodwork twice, had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, had about 75% of the play and somehow managed to lose 3-0 in a match that they should have won at a canter.

Tea tonight was a couple of those small breaded quorn fillets with potatoes and veg and it was delicious.

This evening, something surprising has happened. Someone from Ottawa has contacted me and asked to be my “friend” on my social network.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have plenty of family and friends in Ottawa. There are also plenty of people who have been with me on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and of course a certain young lady who has accompanied me on several of my nocturnal voyages in the past.

Consequently I was intrigued to see who it might be and how I might know them.

It turns out that it’s someone who has found me “by accident” and wants me ” to always be open, honest and having free speech about everything, share your worries, your children and everything be that support group for me as I will for you, plan together, play together and treat me like I mean something to you, you don’t have to sugar coat anything, as adults, we can handle things. I expect you to treat me right, be truthful, and honest with me because I do believe in gospel truth and that is what I want. I want to feel true love and happiness with you and share everything with you based on love and understanding.”

She will apparently “climb the highest mountains just to be with the one i love”.

So while you are all reading this, I’ll be waiting for the message when she will ask me to send her the air fare so that she can come to join me.

Wednesday 19th January 2022 – DAY TWO …

… of my enforced isolation passed quite uneventfully today.

And I’m glad that I decided to stay in because the news in the local rag was quite discouraging. 60 pupils of “a local High School” (and they didn’t say which one, but there is one just across the car park from here) who went on a ski trip last week have all come back testing positive for Covid.

Consequently, when I do decide to go back out to reconnect with the real world, it will be in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed, as I did 2 years ago at the start of the pandemic.

And going back out might be sooner than I imagine because I’ve felt much better today and if I can keep up the improvement, I might even return to normal by the end of next week, but that’s some long hope, isn’t it?

After going to bed last night just after 20:30, I was awake again at 04:40 and spend the next few hours drifting in and out of sleep until the alarm went off at 07:30.

After the medication I came back in here to gather my wits a little and make a start of some work, but I’ve no idea why, after all of the sleep that I had during the night, I dozed off to sleep again.

By breakfast-time I was awake again, and after my coffee and cake (and if I’m not careful I’ll run out of Christmas cake by the weekend) I slowly tried to wind myself up to do some work. And as it happened I made a start on the sencond run-through of some of the radio interviews.

But only a start. I’d rather not dwell too much on all of that. I was definitely not feeling myself today.

One thing that surprised me was that I remembered to ring up the physiotherapist to say that I won’t be coming today. I’ve no idea what it is that I’ve caught but I’m sure that they don’t want it.

As the afternoon wore on, I gradually pulled myself round, and I’m feeling better than I was this time yesterday – although that’s not saying very much at all. Mind you, I did realise round about 16:00 that I hadn’t had any lunch. I must be ill if I’m off my food.

Mustn’t forget the dictaphone either. Tons of stuff on there. It really must have been a disturbed night last night. We started off by me being given custody of a baby that a girl had had and of which I was the father so I had to collect her from school. We knew that this girl was unstable so we set a kind of trap in this hotel room where I was staying, me and three other people because we were sure that she’d try to come in. Sure enough a man appeared at the hotel at about 02:00. He hid inside a cardboard box and gradually inched it across forward into the hotel lift, went up to the 11th floor, left the lift and came back downstairs to the 10th floor. He burst into my room, but it was in fact the girl. She found one of the people sleeping on the floor but the other one stayed hidden under the bed and didn’t move out. She started to become violent so we were violent back so she just stood there and let us be violent to her. It didn’t seem to affect her in the slightest. We were hitting her with chains but she was just standing there. We were wondering how on earth we were going to get this girl organised. We couldn’t set fire to her clothes because the hotel smoke alarm would go off etc. The more we hit her, the more she just stood there and took it so in the end we were very close to giving it up as a bad job

There was a hot air balloon called “The Olga” that was to take off. There were people around there taking photos. I was taking some. Someone asked of there had been any other photos taken in the past. I didn’t have any. The balloon inflated and set off. Suddenly I remembered that I did have a photo of a balloon called “Olga” so I went to have a look. Sure enough, there it was but it was a different balloon in a totally different situation so it was clearly not the correct balloon which was disappointing.

I was also with someone last night but I can’t remember who. We ended up back in Gainsborough Road. I went in with this other person whose father came from Crewe but she came from Abergele. We went in, and my mother was there with some other woman. Se was doing her bes salesman role explaining about my house, everything. It really did look nice the way that it had all been finished off. In the end she said to me “why don’t you take this woman upstairs and so her around?”. I had to point out that first of all I had no idea what we were doing there anyway when there were tenants in there, to show this woman around upstairs, but I went upstairs. There was a kid asleep in the small bedroom and stuff all over the floor. There was another kid sitting on a bed in another room. I noticed that my fitted wardrobes had been demolished. There was a man in the bathroom so I explained the bathroom to the lady and told her about the central heating, so on. We went downstairs and Joanie and Malcolm turned up with their new baby. She’d brought lots of jars of coffee, stuff like that and I wondered what the hell was going on in my house, people just walking in like this even though there were tenants living in there who obviously can’t have been very impressed.

There was some kind of dispute in Portsmouth about rerouting a bus route. It had taken up 2 parking spaces and led to a confrontation. They were saying that there was no other way to reroute these buses but there was in fact a road but where the bus would end up stopping was by a place frequented by a couple of gangs so the bus company didn’t want to stop there. I happened to be down in Portsmouth at the time, in a vehicle with a trailer on it. When we came to the bank that the buses would have to drive up – it was a dirt track – we couldn’t get the vehicle with its trailer up there. We uncoupled the trailer and drove the vehicle up, then we pushed the trailer up. But one of the guys was standing there looking at me while I was pushing this trailer and not lending a hand at all. We coupled up the vehicle and drove off down this dirt track. At the end was a fuel station so we stopped for fuel. I was with Nerina by this time. She was pointing out some beautiful parts of the town that she could see. I said “it’s not like that at all, really. There are a few nice bits but the rest of it is just mundane”. She replied “you could come here and have your hospital treatment if you like”. I told her that I was happy with Leuven. She saw some other buildings that looked nice but I said that they were industrial ones. We had to go to see someone. We were on our way to him. It seemed to me that she was doing everything she could to slow down our arrival there. he had a couple of daughters who were also concerned in what we were doing. She said “we can see them after 20:00, can’t we, on our way home? And these other people we have to see, we can see them later too”. I had a feeling that the rate we were going on meant that we would never ever get to see anyone. It was just dragging on and on and on, this journey.

Finally, I’d been in Spain. I had been in France and I was flying down to Spain but somehow I’d ended up with a car to hire. A black Alfa Romeo saloon. In it I had all my affairs, everything. When I parked it in this street I was busy doing something and when I looked round, the car had gone. I had a look around but couldn’t see it anywhere. eventually I found a public telephone box by a Formula 1 hotel so I phoned the police. I dialled 11 (as in 112) but someone immediately answered. It was a private person and she couldn’t help me at all. A guy standing nearby who had heard what I waid told me that the number for the police was 22 so I dialled them and explained as best as I could what had happened. They left me hanging on the line for ages and ages and ages. A policeman at his desk nearby wondered what I was doing so I explained it to him. He said there’s nothing much we can do, is there? If the car’s gone, it’s gone”. I said “yes, but no-one has even taken the registration number, the details, my details, all this kind of thing. I thought that at least someone would have come down and taken the information”.

Tea tonight was pasta and veg in a vegan cheese sauce. I fancied something light that would fill me and would be easy to digest. And now I’m preparing myself to go to bed.

But before I do, I saw a video about the snowfall that they have just had in Ottawa, so I sent a message to my family and friends who live there.

But of course there is one person there to whom I would like to send a message to see if she’s OK but it’s probably not good idea to go raking around in the ashes of a fire that was extinguished rather dramatically all that time ago. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big believer in the sixth sense and so if I send the message via the power of thought backed by sufficient force of character. I’m convinced that she’ll receive it.

Keep the faith!

Sunday 9th January 2022 – MY CUNNING PLAN …

… for ENDLESS SUNDAYS at lest started as it ought to have done, with me not showing a leg until 10:50 this morning.

As it happens, I’d actually been awake at 07:20 but if anyone thinks that I’m going to be raising myself from the dead at a silly hour like that on a Sunday is mistaken.

Plenty of time therefore for me to go off on a few nocturnal rambles here and there. I was with a young girl last night but she was no-one whom we knew. She was small and had wavy blonde hair. I was trying to go from somewhere to somewhere else but there were no buses or trains so I had to walk. The first leg of my journey was something like 30km so I was busy counting the paces as I walked to make sure that I was on the right speed. I’d already done 12km by the time that mid-morning came round. As I was going down West Street I’d acquired this girl by then. She knew that her name was Anemone or Aphrodite and was a Greek goddess. I was being pursued by my mother and one of my sisters. We shook them off by going round one side of a pillar box while they went round the other but we cut round and across and down into Underwood Lane. They followed us from there. They were talking about the Girls’ Grammar School which was down there (which, of course, it isn’t) and my idea of taking this girl to the Grammar School was totally wrong because there was some kind of copyright or something like that on the Grammar School and I couldn’t use it for my purposes. Something complicated like this. I took no notice and carried on walking down the road with this girl. It was pitch-black and you couldn’t see a thing. Trying to negotiate the bends in this road and the road junctions when you can’t see anything and you have these 2 people behind harping on, it was extremely difficult. And I wish that my family would stop following me around when I’m in the company of a nice young girl.

Later on there was something like a natural disaster, like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone. There was a big Bedford-type horsebox involved in this as well. When I arrived, I couldn’t see the girl whom I’d been sent to rescue. There was another one but this was disappointing because I remembered the 1st girl from some other time. Later, the same thing happened again. Another natural disaster like a flood and I had to go to rescue someone, with a different horse box this time. This time it was the girl whom I recognised, the blonde with her hair in a pony tail, and whom I should have picked up last time. I managed to arrive there in time to rescue her this time. I don’t know who she is in “real life” but in my dream I knew who she was but I just couldn’t think who.

And later still I’d moved house again. I was living somewhere else and I’d taken all of my solar panels and wind turbines with me. We’d slowly been reinstalling everything back in. There were loads of people helping me. Someone who might have been my father was in charge of everything but I don’t know who he was. One night I’d gone to bed and next morning I awoke but everyone was already there working so I went out to the yard to the outhouse to fetch some milk. I was checking the batteries, everything. Considering that it was bright sunlight and a really nice day there was only 12.3 volts in the batteries. I thought that that was really strange. There ought to be much more in there than that. So I fetched my milk and the guy in charge shouted something like “are you going back inside? They need you to open the hatch to the loft in there”. I replied “yes. I’ve only just come out for a minute. I’ll be back in in a sec”. Someone else said to this guy that they had a new door to install in there to go out”. Someone else asked “did they get one in the end? They were talking about it yesterday”. He replied “yes. You should see it! They really do fancy themselves, this lot!”.

So having had a few days (and nights) of some really interesting and welcome characters in my rambles, I’m now back to being pursued around by members of my family. That’s a shame, isn’t it? They just won’t leave me alone.

After the medication I came here and transcribed all of the dictaphone notes that you have just read, and by then it was time for brunch. Porridge with toast and buckets-full of coffee.

This afternoon I updated all of the journal entries that needed the dreams adding back – all the way to December 15th. And unfortunately there was nothing really startling about anything that had happened during the night for that couple of weeks.

But I did notice that the images hadn’t been added in for several days so that’s something that I need to do next. All of that relentless series of trips to the hospital over that couple of days in December disrupted my routine, I’m afraid to say.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022The weather had shown an improvement since yesterday, which was no surprise as it couldn’t surely have been any worse.

There was some light rain falling but that didn’t bother me too much. It seemed to bother everyone else though because there was no-one around on the beach. It was pretty much deserted down there.

And there was nothing of any nature at all happening out to sea either. No boat of any description sailing around in the bay. It’s not as if it’s really winter though. Temperatures are more like late March than early January.

people path pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022And so with nothing else to detain me, I set off down the path to the end of the headland.

There weren’t very people around on the path either. I encountered no more than half a dozen as I walked down to the lighthouse at the end.

And of those half-a-dozen people, not one of them wearing a mask. There’s an Arrêt Prefectorial about wearing masks in open spaces here in the Manche.

Even if there wasn’t, I would have thought that 303,669 cases of infection yesterday would have given most people a clue as to the gravity of the situation. We aren’t ever going to be rid of the virus if people don’t start to take it seriously.

french flag seafarers memorial pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Mind you, on the subject of taking things seriously, we ought to have a look at (what’s left of) the flag that’s flying over the Memorial to the Missing Seamen.

Yesterday I posted a photo of the flag showing that the red stripe was becoming detached from the rest of the flag after the wind that we had had yesterday afternoon.

And so after the wind that we had had yesterday evening, the flag has now been finished off. We apparently now have Liberty and Fraternity, but Equality has now completely Gone With The Wind.

It’ll probably turn up somewhere on the beach out near Jullouville, just like that foot did a few weeks ago.

And while we’re on the subject of feet on beaches … “well, one of us is” – ed … there’s a bay on the border of British Columbia and Washington State where SHOES WITH FEET INSIDE are washed ashore on a regular basis.

So let that be a lesson to you. Always stick a small piece of soap down the bottom of your shoes when you go into the water so that if your feet become detached from your body, they can be washed ashore.

I’ll get my coat.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022Just for a change there were some people down there at the bench at the end of the headland by the cabanon vauban this afternoon. We haven’t seen anyone down there for a good few days.

Whatever it is that they went to see, it beats me because there was nothing at all going on out in the bay this afternoon. And with the mist, the Brittany coast out there on the other side of the bay wasn’t visible either.

The sea had calmed down somewhat as well from yesterday so they weren’t even having the spectacle of the rough sea crashing down on the rocks.

But as long as they were happy, that’s all that counts, although I wish that they would wear their masks. I left them to it and headed off down the path towards the port and home.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal gerlean chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022No change in the inhabitants of the port this afternoon either.

Over at the ferry terminal we have Chaisiaise and the older of the two Joly France boats, the one without a step in the stern. And in the chantier naval we have Gerlean still there. She’s not moved for about a week now.

There was nothing else that piqued my interest so I headed back for home and my nice hot coffee. It’s not been that cold out here, as I mentioned earlier, but it was damp and a mug of hot coffee is always welcome.

After I’d had lunch I’d taken some pizza dough (the last batch as it happens) out of the freezer and left it to defrost during the afternoon.

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo January 2022After I’d had my coffee I kneaded it again, rolled it out and put it on the pizza tray to proof for a while. When it was ready, I assembled it and it went into the oven to bake.

It wasn’t as good as the last two or three. The base underneath the topping was rather soggy still and it can’t go any lower in the oven. It’s already on the lowest rung that there is.

But nevertheless it still tasted totally delicious. I have the knack now, I reckon, of making a good pizza. All I need now is a good oven but that’s going to have to wait for a while, I reckon. I’m still not sure how I’m going to fit an oven in the kitchen.

So now I’m off to bed. I have an early start in the morning in order to prepare a radio programme. The one that will be broadcast this next weekend will be programme 112 but I’ll be working on programme 143. I’m about 6 months ahead, and on purpose too, for obvious reasons, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

The show must go on, hey, whether I am suffering from ill-health or even pushing up the daisies.

Wednesday 24th November 2021 – YOU HAVE ALL HAD …

… a very lucky escape today. I was in half a mind … “your usual state” – ed … to post a photo of my naked chest today.

For the last 24 hours or so I’ve been having a pain in my chest round about where my catheter port is and when I felt it, it felt about three times the normal size

Of course, where it is on my chest, I can’t see it (not that I would want to look anyway) but on my way back from the physiotherapist I bumped into my neighbour who is a home help for the elderly and knows about these things.

She came round accordingly to have a look on her way home.

The swelling (for it is a swelling) and the “hard spot” is not actually at my catheter port but about half an inch away from it, and it doesn’t seem to be septic or anything like that.

She took a photo of it so that I could forward it to the hospital tomorrow and ask their advice. And if they can’t come up with anything, I’ll go and see my doctor.

A visit to my doctor is on the cards anyway because I’m having some serious difficulty in going off to sleep. Last night was rather later than intended but even so, being wide awake at 04:50 when I’m supposed to be lying in until 07:30 is ridiculous.

Mind you, it’s just as well that I was wide-awake because at least I wasn’t disturbed when the alarm went off at 06:00 as I’d forgotten to switch it off from last week.

After the medication and checking my e-mails I transcribed the dictaphone notes. This was a long rambling dream but I can only remember a few bits. I was living in the Netherlands or Flanders and I had to take my CPC for my coach operator’s licence. I passed and was given a certificate so I took it home. On the way back I bought some more clothes from IKEA because we had two kids. I had some quite nice towels, a bluey green one and a reddy maroon one with their own little covers which would be just the thing. My mother was pleased with the towels. She didn’t understand the certificate at first but when she did she wanted to know if I was going back into business. I said “not really but it was due for renewal so I wanted to make sure that it was up to date just in case”. But there were tons more to this but I can’t remember anything

Later on there was some kind of party and I’d been there and was on my way home. I’d left my alcohol pills there but I was bringing home the church tower with the clock on it. I met these two people down the road but I can’t remember any more yet again about this which is a shame because this was beginning to sound interesting.

While I was lying there awake waiting for the alarm at 07:30 I was off on a very long ramble with my niece to a radio station in “Piedmont”, somewhere in Eastern North America. But as I was awake (at least, I think I was), that doesn’t really count.

Once I’d organised myself I started to edit out the soundfiles of the radio interview that we did a couple of weeks ago. By the time that I stopped for lunch I’d edited about 45% on the first run through.

How I do it is that I have a first run-through and edit out all of the stuttering and stammering and breathing, stuff like that, so that it’s coherent and consistent.

Then I go back through it and cut out the bits that are irrelevant to my programme.

Finally, as with any interview, the interviewee often answers questions that haven’t been asked so we dictate the questions later and edit them in to break up what might be a monologue.

And a quick note to Grahame – recording in mono, running the tracks simultaneously with “hard left” on one track and “hard right” on the other works perfectly and gives the effect that I want. Thanks for the tip.

There was just enough time for a shower before lunch (and I’m now at my lowest weight since I stopped running) and just as I’d finished, Laurent arrived.

We went off across the courtyard to the Council’s annexe where the controller of the radio works, and discussed a forthcoming “event”. And this is going to be yet another World exclusive scoop, but more about that anon.

While we were there, we discussed a few other things here and there because we’ve long-since arrived at the conclusion that leaving things until the last minute doesn’t work. We need to have a few things in stock ready.

By now it was quite late so Laurent drove me up the physiotherapist’s, hence the absence of any photos.

Today I didn’t have a go on the tilting platform. Instead she had me on the cross trainer (where I set a new personal best) and then a pile of kinetic exercises.

When she threw me out, I had shopping to do so for a change, seeing as I hadn’t been to LIDL for ages I pushed on reluctantly up the hill and round the corner.

And for a change I managed to find everything that I needed and to be un the safe side I bought three boxes of yeast. I seem to be getting through yeast and flour at an alarming rate these days. And that reminds me – I have a loaf to bake tomorrow morning.

crane rue victor hugo rue st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way back home I passed the building site that we used to observe when I came this way regularly.

There are some concrete slab walls that have gone up on the ground floor level so they seem to be at last making progress. But it’s rather slow progress, more like what you might expect of Belgian housebuilders, of which regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Carrying my rather heavy load I carried on down the hill, when I remembered that I hadn’t bought an energy drink to help me back up the hill on the other side towards home.

council workmen installing father christmas place general de gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021In the town centre the Council workmen were out in force.

Every year there’s a Christmas display of some kind or other and this year the centrepiece seems to be a giant Father Christmas, surrounded by a pile of trees that have been brought in from somewhere.

On the way back up the hill I met my neighbour coming down so we had a chat about my catheter port, and then I came home for a coffee.

No photo of the beach because by now it was going dark quite rapidly.

Tea tonight was taco rolls followed by a soya dessert thing. It’s amazing what one finds in LIDL these days.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted. I had a lot of things to do today and hardly did any of them. I really must get a move on.

Saturday 6th November 2021 – I DIDN’T HAVE …

… such a productive day today as I did yesterday. I found it very hard to make a start yet again.

It should actually have been a much better day today because for once I was actually wide awake a 07:15 – 15 minutes before the alarm went off – and I should have taken full advantage of it but once again, being awake is one thing – actually leaving the bed is something else completely.

Anyway I eventually crawled out of bed and went off for my medication.

Back here I ended up deep in conversation with someone on the internet.

In my possession is a very limited-edition copy of David Hill’s AN ATLAS OF ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND but unfortunately there are several pages missing.

The person with whom I was chatting had been a student of David Hill at Manchester University and had a copy of the Atlas himself so he copied the pages for me and sent them to me, along with several maps showing the distribution of Royal lands in South Cheshire, North Shropshire and the Maelor, my old stamping ground of course, and a copy of his thesis on the Domesday Book entries for that area.

That really was a wonderful gesture and I was very grateful for all of that. It’s restored a little of my faith in human nature.

boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021After breakfast I headed off out to do some shopping. No Caliburn so I went on foot to the local shops in town.

And by the looks of things I wasn’t the only one going out and about this morning. There was a relentless stream of boats heading out to the Ile de Chausey this morning.

That suggests that the gate at the entry to the port de plaisance opened a short while ago and everyone is taking full advnatage.

boat yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Of course, some boats are quicker away than others.

This one was right out in the bay going past the Ile de Chausey and by the size of the wake that he’s creating compared to the size of his boat he must have le feu dans ses fesses as they say around here.

On the other hand I don’t believe that the yacht to the right has gone out at that kind of speed. Either she’s been out all night or else she’s come from a non-tidal harbour, if there is such a thing around here

joly france baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021My route today was to go around the headland and down into town that way.

And I hadn’t gone too far along the path before one of the Joly France came around the corner.

One look at the stern is enough to tell us that she’s the older boat of the two. The newer one has a step cut into the stern.

There’s quite a crowd of people on board the boat as well. It’s not the best day to be going out to the Ile de Chausey but at least it’s not raining.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2111/21110044.html”>boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As I walked down the path and across the car park I could hear this dreadful racket coming from the water and I wondered what it might be.

At the end of the headland I found out that it wasn’t just one boat making a noise but a whole collection of them.

It looks to me as if the whole world is heading out to the ile de Chausey this morning and I’ve no idea why it should be so popular. I haven’t seen anything in the local newspaper.

And while we are on the subject of the local newspaper, the helicopter was scrambled yesterday to rescue two people stuck in a tidal swimming pool but a pleasure boat beat the helicopter to it.

fishermen boats heading out to the ile de chausey baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And that’s not all of the water craft either.

As I went down the steps to the bottom I noticed that there were three fishermen setting themselves up on the rocks down there.

And they were having a grandstand view of everything going sailing past them this morning.

And they can consider themselves lucky too. Many people would pay good money to see a spectacle like this and we are all having it for free.

portable boat lift chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021I walked along the path at the foot of the cliffs and that brought me down to by the chantier naval.

We can have a closer look at the portable boat lift and see how sorry it’s looking without her wheels. It must be some kind of serious repair that’s had her holed up like this in the middle of the yard.

But we can do with getting her back on her feet – or her wheels, at any rate. As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … a proper functioning boat repair yard is vital to the success of the port.

fishing boat with tender leaving fish processing plant port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Tanking of the success of the port … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was a small fishing boat unloading as I was walking along the quayside.

It didn’t take her long and, hauling her tender alongside her, she was soon off on her way again.

Her name was clearly visible on the wind deflector over the cabin but it was written in some crazy Gothic script that I couldn’t decipher. And as she doesn’t have an AIS beacon, I can’t check her registration number against my records.

crab left behind by the tide port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021There was something else of interest in the tidal harbour this morning.

What he’s actually doing here I really don’t know. Whether he’s fallen out of a basket from a boat that’s unloading or whether he simply fancies going for a walk is something of a mystery.

But one thing is certain and that it’s very rare for a crab to be left behind by a receding tide. If he doesn’t get a move on, he’ll be on someone’s dinner plate this evening.

st gaud port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday from up above at the viewpoint overlooking the port I noticed that there was a trawler moored where Marité is usually tied up.

As I was down this way I went for a look to see who she was.

She’s the Saint Gaud, named after a former Bishop of Evreux. There’s a shrine dedicated to him at St Pair sur Mer that used to be a centre of pilgrimage where mothers would bring their babies to receive a blessing.

After his retirement as Bishop he came to live in the Forest of Scissy part of which is today the town of St Pair sur Mer.

chausiaise port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Next to her at the quayside is the little Chausey freighter Chausiaise.

She has a sliding top that covers the hold, as you can see. It’s similar to a design that we did in the 1980s for an outdoor swimming pool where the sides and roof slide back underneath one another to make it an open-air one in good weather.

There’s no photo of her in the shipping database and as I maintain the AIS beacon for the port I feel that I’m in some way responsible for the local boats. This photo has come out quite well so it’s now been uploaded to the database.

By the way, up on the city walls just to the left of the French flag is the viewpoint that overlooks the inner port. And that’s the hill that I have to stagger up to go home.

Around the corner I bumped into the itinerant, still going strong. I’ve not seen him for a while so we had a chat and then I went off to buy the lettuce, a baguette, some mushrooms and a couple of peppers. And a can of drink for the journey back.

barbecue marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I passed round by the market.

All of the smoke that you can see is from the legendary barbecue about which there was so much trouble two years or so ago. He uses charcoal to grill his sausages and the mayor at the time didn’t like the smell or the smoke so she tried to make him convert to gas.

He took her all the way up the heirarchical ladder of appeals and in the end he won his case, so he still used the charcoal. The Carnaval that year was … errr … rather cruel.

marché de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But as you can see, the market here on a Saturday morning is quite popular. It certainly pulls in the crowds.

For the first few weeks that I lived here I would come back this way from the shops on a Saturday morning but the first weekend that I tried it after the summer holidays started, I found an alternative route very quickly.

On the way back home I stopped halfway up the hill. Not because I was exhausted but rather because I wasn’t and I had my can of drink to drink before I returned home. It was nice sitting on the wall overlooking the port with a can of drink in my hand.

As I approached my buildiing I bumped into yet another neighbour and she held me captive for 20 minutes chatting about this and that. I reallt do seem to be popular right now and i’ve no idea what I’ve done to deserve that.

As a result it was almost lunchtime by the time that I came back inside.

This afternoon I’ve been working on the arears of the journal, adding in the photos and the dreams from when I was in Leuven last month. Now they are all up-to-date.

And after I’d done that I transcribed some dreams for a couple more days and I’ll be adding them in as I go along over the next while – just in time (presumably) to go into arrears again when I go to Leuven in 10 days time. It’s a vicious circle in which I find myself at the moment.

In the meantime, last night I was with my mother somewhere. I was in one room of the house. There was music on the radio so I was playing along on the bass but on one particular song the bass actually switched on and was really loud. When I looked, one of the potentiometers was glowing red-hot with sparks. I couldn’t get down there to turn off or turn down the sound

There had been a whole new road network opened from after Whitchurch to Shrewsbury and Market Drayton. It was quite late at night and I decided that even though I had things to do I would go to see if after someone had told me something about it. I set off and just as I was coming onto the new bit there was a telephone box so I thought that I’d stop and put all my papers in order because I’d thrown them into the car. I wanted to check on the ferry at 02:30 which was the one that I should have been on but then I couldn’t find my papers. The 2 people sitting in the back, I don’t know where they came from were having a rummage around in the car. Eventually they found something and I found the rest. I was sitting on it. Percy Penguin in the passenger seat read out the ferry booking number to me so I wrote it down. I found that I’d already written it once in my notebook. That meant that I could phone up about the ferry that I should have been on.

I’d been doing a coach tour. I’d had to go out, drive over 300 miles, pick up some passengers and bring them back to the depot and be back by lunchtime. I had loads of things that I’d brought with me, tools and everything and I had to get them into my red Cortina estate. That took me an age to do that. Then I had to set off and drive back home but I had a phone call to make, to ring up my niece in Canada. I parked my car at the side of the road and went to the phone box. The number wasn’t actually the number that I thought it was but it was there written down so I thought that I’d go to dial it. Then I noticed that my bike was missing. The car outside had changed into a bike. I went out to look for it and there were 2 girls there. One was Zero. She had my bike but she had hit something with it. I asked her why she’d taken it. She relied that 2 boys had taken it and had a ride on it but it was some stupid bike without a computer so they’d dumped it so she’d gone on it and gone for a ride. I had to go back and find a phone box and telephone Canada again. She came with me in the phone box. I started looking for my notebook which I eventually found. There was the number written down in it but it was the wrong number. I remembered that the last time the number had changed. I thought that I’m not going to be able to phone up because I only have one 10p. If I dial the wrong number I’m going to lose it and I won’t be able to call her again.

But here I am, stuck in a tiny, confined space like a telephone box with Zero who can’t possibly escape from my evil clutches and I choose that moment to awaken. You couldn’t make up something like that.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021As usual I nepped out at 16:00 to go and see the beach.

At the moment the tide is well out as you can see so there was plenty of beach this afternoon. There were quite a few people down there as well this afternoon going for a good walk around .

The weather is quite cool and there’s a little wind, but it’s been windier and colder than this already so it’s not too bad for November. But I imagine that over the next few weeks winter will be starting to get a grip on everything and that will be the last that we shall see of the idlers.

hermitage promenade donville les bains Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few weeks ago I posted a photo or two to show that the beach cabins on the Plat Gousset have been taken away for the wonter to protect them from the storms.

Down on the promenade at Donville-les-Bains they don’t seem to be too concerned by that. The cabins are still there.

To the left is that big building that used to be a hotel but is now a block of apartments and flats. I had a look at a room that was to let there not long after I came to live here but it really was in bad condition and I didn’t like it all that much at all.

Back here I carried on work until tea time. Breaded burgers and veg with baked potatoes and it really was delicious. I must admit that I’m eating really well since I’ve been living here.

Now my journal entry is written I’m going to have a little relax and then go to bed. I can’t describe how much I’ve been looking forward to the lie-in tomorrow but the problem will be that having spent all weel working myself up to it, somethign will happen to put a spanner in the works.

We shall see.

Tuesday 12th October 2021 – JUST FOR A CHANGE …

… today, no-one bothered me at all. I had quite a calm day today wthout having to deal with reams of phone calls, people having fits of hysteria an dall that kind of nonsense.

Last night’s sleep wasn’t as good as it might have been either. It was another one of these nights when I was tossing and turning around in bed.

Tons of stuff on the dictaphone too.

I was the owner of a helicopter last night and something had happened that meant that I was in a lot of financial difficulties over it. Some big company was trying to squeeze me out and had been serving writs and summonses on me that I’d been fighting off, not receiving and refusing to receive and so on. eventually I had to go somewhere in my helicopter and ran out of fuel and had to put down on the North European coast somewhere. So I had to land and somehow found my way back to my base but there was no food to eat or anything like that. There was a girl and a guy eating some stuff so I went to fetch their plates to wash them up but they hadn’t finished. They were playing some kind of game with a couple of cats.

There was something about a girl probably 13 or 14 driving around in an America sports car, probably in his 20s. She was clowning around in the car as if she owned it. They were just driving around like they used to do in the old days and generally showing herself off to everyone in this car.

I was in Shavington last night and they had organised a football team and it was playing friendlies. The first match that they played, they lost 2-0 and were getting ready on Sunday to play another match. They were discussing the teams, who was playing and who wasn’t, what position. I was thinking that it was a shame that they hadn’t done this a few years ago. Then a group of us headed back to the house. I was bringing back some things that I’d discovered in an old cellar. We bumped into a woman and her daughter. The daughter was on a scooter and were chatting away. The woman with me (I don’t know who it was) said “when we get back to the house I’d better get a cardboard box to put this girl’s present in. She was in fact 21 even though she only looked 13 or something. To descend into the cellar was a complicated thing. We had to move a metal grille with a pile of paper on it so this woman could go down there and get a box. half of the stuff on top of this box fell down and it was all generally confusing.

Later on my mother was going berserk about some photos that had been taken of the surrounding buildings. I had a close look at it but some of them I didn’t recognise although it was my camera. It looked to me as if someone else had been taking the photos so I was rather annoyed about this. as I tried to look my mother told me to stop wasting my time and not to bother looking through them because that was her decision anyway so I went for a walk. It turned out to be in Sandbach. I had a walk round, initially to have a look at these buildings but I don’t know what happened. I was eventually caught up in the kids coming out from school. The girls from the Grammar School were wearing big cloaks and just red tartan-coloured knickers, that’s all that they were wearing. Of course they were flirting around with a few boys, that sort of thing while they were doing it.

There was a lie-in until 07:30, which seems to be the start time these days, I had my medication, checked my mails and messages and then started to revise my Welsh ready for my lesson.

That started at 11:00 and went on until 01:30 without any problems although I made one or two simple errors that were rather embarrassing.

After lunch I had some correspondence to deal with and then I set out for town.

sailing school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Down on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury, there’s a good view looking out over the harbour.

This afternoon, the sailing schools were out having fun this afternoon. It was a little cool and windy, but a nice sunny day so I suppose that it was the ideal kind of weather for them to be afloat out there.

Down in the harbour itself there wasn’t very much happening at all. everything seemed to be exactly as it was when we saw it yesterday afternoon.

dumper depositing sand in skip boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021There was however something goin on down at the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

A dumper had turned up with a load of sand and was busy tipping it onto a container that has turned up today.

When the dumper left, I followed its course and I can now tell you that this compound and the associated machinery are here in connection with the work that we saw the other day in the Rue Cambernon.

At least, that was where it was heading when I lost sight of it.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further down the hill I came to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

There’s something having been going on down there because the dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie has shuffled round a little and all of the pipes seem to have moved somewhat.

The number of pipes doesn’t seem to have diminished any, though. I wonder when they are going to start doing something with them. The dredger has been here for a couple of weeks and someone must be paying a rental for that.

First stop was at the Health Centre. My doctor had told me that a new cardiac specialist had set up shop there so I went to try and blag an appointment with him, taking with me the letter that my doctor had given me.

Unfortunately the receptionist was rather intransigent but I did manage to coax the doctor’s phone number from her.

Next stop was at the bank. I’d had my cheque for the last three months of my state pension from Belgium, and it needed to be paid in. Now, where can I go with €90:18?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I only worked for about 11 months in the Belgian State Pension Scheme, back in 2005/06.

Final port of call was at the Post Office. I’ve had the estimate for the repair of the NIKON 1 J5 and it’s less that I was expecting. I needed to authorise the work and, more importantly, to pay the bill.

The way back home up the hill passed much more easily that it has done of late and I’ve no idea why that is either. It wasn’t anything like the struggle that it was a couple of weeks ago, although it’s still a long way short of how it was 18 months ago.

buddy m port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Back at the viewpoint overlooking the harbour we could see that Buddy M, the trawler from Cork, is still there.

She’s been here a few weeks now having her overhaul, and I’ve noticed over the last couple of days that there has been a white van parked by her. maybe that can belongs to the mechanics.

From there I carried on up the hill, rather more easily, heading for my apartment and a cup of coffee. I felt that I had earned it this afternoon.

hang glider place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Outside the apartment there was one of my neighbours so I went over and had a chat, grabbing a photograph of a Birdman of Alcatraz on my way.

Shortly afterwards, another neighbour came over and then a third, ans we were gossiping away like a bunch of old women for about half an hour.

Most of the topic centred around the garden outside the building. There’s been a proposal for the occupiers of the building to do something with it, like plant flowers and the like. Not that it affects me in any way as I won’t be taking part, but I can’t be unsociable all my life..

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Once everyone drifted away from the conversation I walked over to the wall at the end of the car park to look down onto the beach.

And pleasant day thatit was, there wasn’t anyone down there at all, even though there was plenty of beach to be on right now. Even the Birdmen of Alcatraz had folded up their wings and departed.

There were a few boats out there in the bay, but they were even farther out that usual so taking a photo would have been pretty much a waste of time.

people on beach place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021But one thing that I did notice was a couple of people out on the rocks further around the beach.

They had piled up some of their clothing down there and had gone for a little paddle in the water. I hope that they were enjoying it.

Back in the apartment I made a coffee and then sat down to telephone the heart specialist. After much debate and discussion they eventually managed to fit me in on Monday 25th October – at 08:00.

That’s going to be some appointment, at that time of the morning.

Tea was pasta and veggie balls again in spicy tomato sauce – more spicy that normal because I dropped the tabasco sauce into the mix. But apart from that it was nice.

Now I’m off to bed, later than I would have liked, because I’m up at 06:00 tomorrow. I’m off to Leuven on the 08:45 train for a long day’s travel and I’m no good if I’m half asleep.

Friday 8th October 2021 – I WAS IN BED …

… last night really early – at about 22:40 as it happened, and I had one of the best, deepest sleeps that I have ever had, all the way through until … errr … 04:41. And then the wheels fell off.

When I awoke, I was drenched in sweat yet again (and isn’t this becoming a regular occurrence?), probably the worst yet, and then I spent the time until the alarm went off at 07:30 just tossing and turning in bed.

Staggering out of bed I went for my medication and then back here after dealing with my mails and messages I made a coffee and dealt with the dictaphone.

Yesterday’s voyages are now on line in the appropriate place and then I had a listen to today’s. I’d found myself a nice young girlfriend and I’d been round at my mother’s house with her. It was time for her to go home so I said “yes, you have school in the morning”. She said no, she wasn’t going to school. I asked 2 or 3 times but it didn’t sink in with me. We went to go out and it was pouring down with rain. My mother asked “what are you going to do now?” I replied “put our hoods up”. THe girl decided that it was rather too much so my mother said that she’d run us. I replied “I’ll drive – where are the keys?”. My mother refused and I thought that this was a strange turn-round from how things usually are. I got into the back of this Cortina estate and my mother and this girl got into the front and set off. My mother’s driving was all over the place, driving up the kerb and everything. I said to the girl “I told you that you’ll regret this”. We came to a road junction out of Vine Tree Avenue into Somerville Street in Crewe and I’ve no idea why we were there but my mother didn’t slow down. She just carried on. I shouted “aren’t you going to stop?”. She jammed her foot on the brake and the car slid across the road junction just missing another car coming the other way. I took this girl and we left the car and said “right, we’re walking”. This girl was rather unhappy about walking and said “we can always go to see Reg and have him drive us home” but he was just about walking as far in the other direction as it was walking her home to her house from where we were. I had this feeling again that here was something else that was slipping through my hands. That’s turning into a regular part of my dreams, isn’t it? Here I am with a bird on my plate and just as I’m about to get my fork stuck into it …

Later on I was back working in an office and who should start to work there but TOTGA? Of course I was very interested in that but she never seemed to have the time to talk to me, which was rather a shame. This affected me once to such an extent that I couldn’t concentrate on my work. I had the bougeotte, the need to move around. I went out of the office to go for a little walk. Some other woman came out and asked me where I was going so I told her. She said “well if you like I’ll come back afterwards and peel your carrots for you” which I thought was a strange thing to say. I got into my car, which was the Omega, left-hand drive, and drove it down the ramp into the car park. But my badge wouldn’t work the car park and quite a queue of people built up behind me. The guys in the office down there controlling the car park weren’t in the least bit interested. Eventually one of them came over and tried my badge but it didn’t work. He said “your badge has expired” and that was that. I had to make all of these people behind me reverse out of the way and I had to reverse the Omega back up which wasn’t easy with these vehicles coming down behind me and going off somewhere else. I ended up back in my office. By now there was a party taking place at lunchtime so I walked round the corner and there was TOTGA still sitting at her desk working. I went over and asked her “aren’t you taking part in the festivities?” and that was when things ground to a halt unfortunately, although I had a feeling that I was heading for yet another disappointment

Later still I was in some kind of army. I can’t remember much about this but someone came along with a cannon so I gave him a run out. His was far better than any artillery I had in my army so I was very keen to sign him up. I can’t remember what happened after this.

Finally, I’d gone to see a car for sale. An Opel. 40 miles on the clock despite it being 4 years old. It had been bought for someone who had become ill and had never ever used it. I went to see it and it really was in good condition as you would expect but it had had a bang underneath it and the paint had come off one of the sills. The sill was bent and the floor pan was rather bent. I offered then £4,000 for it but they wanted £8,000 which was what they had paid, which was probably right 4 years ago. I offered them £4,000 which they thought was a humiliation but I pointed out these defects and said “let me know what you think”.

It’s hardly surprising that I was totally exhausted after all of that, especially as it seemed to be so full of disappointment. Nothing seems to be going my way during my nocturnal rambles, rejected by TOTGA and having relationship issues with a girl whom I wish I knew who she was, and my family sticking their oar in to spike my guns just like in real life all those years ago.

Anyway, let’s not brood on the past.

Much of the morning was spent with this radio project, following up a couple of hot clues about people who might have a few things to say for themselves. But one thing that I have noticed, particularly with the Brits, is that they will spend days if not weeks moaning about something and yet refuse to do anything about it, even when the opportunity is presented to them on a plate.

A shower came next and as a surprise, I went one step further than Dave Crosby. Must be because I had a ‘flu for Christmas. I weighed myself today too and in the space of a week I’ve lost 1.2kg. At this rate, I’ll be gone completely in 18 months.

After an early lunch I headed off into town.

building work boulevard des terreneuviers Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The first port of call, for a change this afternoon seeing as it was early, was to see if there was any sign of life at the roadworks in the Boulevard des Terreneuviers.

And there was actually someone there too. As I was walking down the hill he walked out of the compound and went to sit in the digger that was there. And that’s all he did – just sat there.

But there has been some kind of activity because the skip that was here has now gone. You can see the mark on the road where it was left. So something is happening, although it’s hard to say what it is.

dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Further on down the road, there’s still no change in the port.

The dredger St-Gilles Croix-de Vie is still down there in the harbour, still surrounded by all of the pipes and tubes. It looks as if nothing of any importance has moved since yesterday.

But I need to be moving so I pushed on down the Rue des Juifs and then down the steps towards the Place Pléville-Lepelley

place pléville-lepelley Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The Place looks empty and deserted right now.

Over the summer there was the Bar Ephemère, “Chez Maguie”, down there with several tables and benches and all kinds of things but a couple of weeks ago it was all folded back up into the shipping container that was its home.

But now that’s no longer here. Gone! And never called me “mother”!

Usually there are hordes of people here too playing boules but there’s not a soul down there this afternoon. And that’s a surprise, seeing as it’s lunchtime right now.

diesel fuel spill place semard Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill wasn’t as bad as it has been just recently. I only stopped once to catch my breath and if that were the case every time I’d be quite happy with that.

At the roundabout in the Place Semard there looks as if there has been a diesel spillage. There’s a big trail of sand around the roundabout that stops as the road begins to climb the hill. A couple of scooters were taking the bend very gingerly.

The physiotherapist had me on the tilting platform thing for 20 minutes and then the cross trainer to finish off. I pushed my personal best on by another 10 seconds and could have done better except that my right knee was feeling the strain. I was glad to stop.

After he threw me out I went across the road to the little Carrefour. I’m running low on fruit and I don’t want to go all the way out to the hypermarket tomorrow for just a few things as I’m off to Leuven on Wednesday morning.

Fruit is expensive in there but it’s right on the way home so I may as well splash out. And they had 1.5kg of nice-looking potatoes on special offer at €0:99 and I’ve run out.

It was a stagger back home carrying all of that but it had to be done and it saves me going out tomorrow of course

freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021The walk up the hill in the Rue des Juifs wasn’t as easy as it might have been had I not been loaded up, and I was glad to reach the viewpoint overlooking the port.

Leaving on the wall with my energy drink in one hand, I could see that we’ve had a change down there on the quayside.

One of the Jersey freighters (it was the Normandy Trader with a skeleton crew as I learnt later) has been into port this morning, taken away a lot of the stuff that was on the quayside and it looks as if she’s unloaded another pile of freight that is waiting to be collected.

eglise st paul Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way down the hill earlier I noticed that there was something going on by the Eglise St Paul.

While I was here I took a photo and back home in the apartment I could enlarge (I only have the NIKKOR 30-110mm LENS on the NIKON D3000) the photo to see what was happening.

It looks as if they are working on the rear of a building in the Rue Couraye and using a crane to swing stuff over from the road by the church. Strangely, I’d just been walking up and down the Rue Couraye and I hadn’t noticed a thing. I must be slipping..

repairing flags boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a few days I posted a photo of the flags on the car part at the Boulevard Vaufleury that had been shredded by the wind early in the week.

Today, they have turned up there in a cherry-picker and there are a couple of workmen there. Are they chanign light bulbs in the street lights there, aor are they actually dealing with the flags?

Whatever it is that they are doing, they have an interested spectator in Georges René Le Peley de Pléville who is watching from his plinth.

IN case you are wondering who he is, which I’m sure you are, he was born in 1726 in Granville and was variously a privateer, governor of Marseille and an Admiral of the French fleet, to name but three of his many positions.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo October 2021On the way back home I went via the beach to see what was going on there.

Plenty of beach for it to be going on on, and quite a few people down there too, all armed with rakes and all kinds of unusual tools to scratch away at the sand to pull out whatever is left there by the tide.

Back home I made myself a coffee and then, rather regrettably, I fell asleep for 20 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve slept like that, especially since I’ve been lying in, but I suppose that the walk and the physiotherapy has taken it all out of me

Once I’d recovered I set about adding a few of the noctural voyages for the journal entries for August. I’ve actually made it as far back as 21st August and there’s still plenty to go at yet.

Those potatoes looked so nice that I had steamed veg, veggie balls with vegan cheese sauce for tea and it was totally delicious tonight.

Now that my notes are finished, I’m going to have a quiet relax for half an hour and then go to bed for an early night.

No shopping tomorrow, but I have a desktop mixer panel with which I need to have a play around and make work. It’s been sitting on my shelves for far too long and it’s about time that I brought it into use if I can.

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – WHAT A BEAUTIFUL …

montmartin sur mer Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… day it was today – at least, the afternoon of it.

The sky was as clear as a bell and you could see for miles, way out to sea and all along the coast too. With the sun now shining brightly, and down at a lower angle, it had lit up the town of Montmartin sur Mer as if it had been in a spotlight on a stage.

And when I blew up the photo, I could even make out some people on the beach, and that’s pretty good going for that kind of distance.

st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021The view was just as good further out to sea as well.

It was another one of those days where not only was Jersey really clear on the horizon 58 kilometres away, we could even make out some of the buildings at St Helier.

The big tower over to the left is very intriguing. It really could be anything – the “Marine Peilstand 1 Tower” which was a German Army artillery ranging point or La Tour de Vinde, a Napoleonic-era Martello tower, or even the tower the name of which I have forgotten that overlooks St Brelade’s Bay.

yacht ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Further on around to the west, the Ile de Chausey was looking quite good too.

The colours weren’t as brilliant or as visible as we have seen them on the odd occasion here and there but the little white cottages at the foot of the lighthouse stand out quite clearly against the dark background of the hill on which the lighthouse is situated.

There wasn’t much going on out at sea though this afternoon. There was just a yacht drifting about rather aimlessly and what looks like a motor boat on the extreme right, but that was about everything.

trawler cap frehel brittany coast France Eric Hall photo September 2021Finally, finishing off our arc from north-east to due west, from my vantage point on top of the bunker at the back of the lighthouse the view was even better.

Right out there in the distance, 70 kilometres away, the lighthouse and fort at Cap Frehel were visible with the naked eye this afternoon, never mind with the camera’s zoom lens.

And we could even see the headland around at the end of the next bay, which I think is the Ile de Brehat at the mouth of the River Trieux

There’s a trawler out there as well, and we can even see that it has its nets out this afternoon. That’s what I call a really good day.

But I’m glad that some people had a really good day today because I had an absolutely awful one.

The night wasn’t as early as I was hoping and when the alarm went off at 06:00 I was right out of it, absolutely and completely. And having another feverish sweat as well.

There wasn’t even time to finish checking my mails and messages before I had gone west and I ended up, to my complete and utter dismay, back in bed and under the covers again. Twice in three days, after going for a couple of years without doing so. That’s a sign of how I’m feeling right now.

It was about 10:20 when I finally staggered out of bed and I’m not sure if I wasn’t feeling any worse either. It took me an age to pull myself together.

But once I did, I made an Executive Decision, and for the benefit of any new reader (of which there are more than just a few these days), an Executive Decision is one where if it’s the wrong decision, the person who made it is executed.

And the decision is that I’ve changed the time of the alarm from 06:00 to 07:30 to give myself an extra 90 minutes in bed, until this situation resolves itself one way or another. Just on Mondays will I be having an 06:00 alarm call as I have the radio stuff to do.

Once I’d had a coffee I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. I had to go to meet my aunt off the ferry that was coming in at 06:00 so I had to get up early. There was half my family in my apartment and that was uncomfortable for a start. When I set off, I didn’t realise actually where I was going to have to go to meet everyone. I ended up at the shop and was in there when suddenly my mother walked in. There was some discussion with the shopkeeper about tickets to go to meet people, all this kind of thing, tickets to come back from the ferry terminal on the bus to where they were dropped off at his shop. He said “if my aunt comes, she’ll have a ticket and we can all arrange it them”. Then I had my mother and my brother trying to argue with me. I said “look, for the last 20-odd years I’ve lived on my own. I’m not used to all these people”. That led to a few ribald remarks from my brother and one or two other people. As we walked back to my apartment I found myself thinking “I wish there were some other apartments in this building vacant where I could stick them and get them out of my hair”. There was something as well that I’d told one of my sisters about a book about a Chinese disc jockey that summed up quite a lot the way that I’d been feeling. All the way back we had “my sister couldn’t be bothered to read that book” all that kind of thing and it was a most uncomfortable dream.

I was out with TOTGA last night, of all people. I’d been to go to a Conference on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I went to the hotel which was near Birmingham and booked myself in for the Tuesday night to start on Wednesday morning. There were another 2 people there booking and they were only booking for the Wednesday night and Thursday on the same course. He asked me why, and I recognised one of them. I knew that he lived fairly locally so I said that I imagined that he would come straight from home for the conference and then come back here for the next two nights. I can’t remember how it went on from there but there was some time to kill so I ended up going for a walk with TOTGA. We were hand-in-hand walking and chatting. She asked where I would like to go but I didn’t really have much of an idea. She said “how about the cinema?”. I’d never been to the new cinema in Crewe so I said “yes, fine”. We walked along Wistaston Road. There was a queue outside the cinema and it slowly started to move. The tickets were £27:00 to go in, so I thought that I’d pay for her but she was renewing her annual subscription so she said that she’d pay. I insisted on paying but the woman at the counter said “you know that hers is £999, don’t you?” I replied “right, in that case I’d better let you pay”. We arranged to meet one lunchtime as well. She asked me where we’d meet so I replied “why not the cinema?”. We agreed that we’d meet on the lunchtime at the cinema. Then there was the case of making a snack. She had bought me a pizza from here once so I thought “right, we’ll have a pizza”. Apparently you made your own. The cheese though was like a spread that you spread over the base of your pizza and put your topping on top which I thought was an extremely strange way of going about things but I started to do that.

I’d been working on repairing an old MkII Ford Consul. We’d had the engine all stripped down in situ and reassembled it. The owner, my father, was not very happy about everything. He saw petrol lying around in cans and he went and took them away. I had to clean all of these parts, and in the end someone went and fetched the petrol back so I cleaned all of the parts of the carburettor and reassembled it. There were still a few bits and pieces left to do including fuelling it up because there was very little petrol left in it but someone had brought a portable bed and gone to sleep right up against the car where the fuel filler was so I couldn’t reach it. In the end my father came back and asked how we were doing. I replied that it was almost done. He made a few remarks about a few bits that were missing, all this kind of thing. I said “it’s not trouble at all, they aren’t really necessary until we find out how the car runs”. We went to start it and it started first time and sounded nice. He got into it and took it for a little drive around the block. He said “yes, this is fine”, then drove off somewhere else. I remember saying “he’s not going to get very far with the few bits that are missing off it and there’s no petrol in it” And he should know about the petrol because ha was the one who stopped us filling it”.

But in the middle of all of my blasted family coming around to annoy me like they do, it must have cheered me up to have had an afternoon or evening out involving a Close Encounter with TOTGA. But in real life she had far too much sense to involve herself with me to that kind of extent.

What with one thing and another I missed out on having lunch, because, even though I didn’t feel like it, I had a task to perform

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that a couple of weeks ago I bought a new printer to replace the one that was only printing in blue. I hadn’t installed it yet but this afternoon someone sent me an important communication that I needed to sign and send back, so I had to unpack it and install it.

Although it’s the same make and model as the old one, it’s an upgraded version so it took me a while to figure it out, and when I’d finished installing it, even though it would print, it wouldn’t scan.

Eventually I discovered that despite it being one of these multi-function printers from a major manufacturer, the scanner drivers aren’t included in the installation package, something that left me totally bewildered, so I had to go on-line and hunt them down.

And then I couldn’t make the machine work as I wanted. The control panel is quite complicated but seems to be lacking in functionality. I was surprised that it hadn’t installed a “scan” button on the computer desktop.

So after much binding in the marsh, I eventually discovered that the original “scan” icon for the old printer now points to the new one and once I’d realised that, it was all plain sailing.

All of this made me quite late for my afternoon walk, and when I finally made it outside, I bumped into a neighbour who kept me chatting for half an hour. Not that I had the time to spare, but I can’t spend all my life being totally unsociable with everyone.

While we were chatting, there were all kinds of stuff going on in the air. The powered red hang-glider went by overhead, followed by a couple of Nazguls, a light aeroplane and even the air-sea rescue helicopter, but you can’t interrupt your conversation to take a few pictures. It’s not very polite.

launching site for hang gliders Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021One we’d parted company and gone our separate ways, like the Knights in THE HOLY GRAIL? i tried to make amends.

The field from where the Bird-men of Alcatraz take off is right next door to the cemetery, which I always thought was a good idea because if they make a mistake on take-off or landing they won’t have far to go, so I took a random photo to see if I could see anyone.

But they must have come in and untangled themselves from their equipment quite quickly because by the time that I looked, the field was pretty much deserted. The bird-men had flown.

bouchots donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Instead, I concentrated myself on what was going on down on the beach this afternoon.

Plenty of beach to be on today of course with the tide being out, but not too many people on it taking advantage of the warm, almost windless afternoon.

Meanwhile, further over at Donville les Bains, they are out there in force at the bouchot beds – the beds where the mussels grow on strings rather than in the sand. You can see the tractors and trailers out there as they harvest today’s catch

repairing medieval city walls place du marché aux chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was here, I had a look to see how the repair work on the old medieval city wall at the Place du Marché aux Chevaux was going on

It’s been a while since we’ve had a close look, so I was hoping to see some substantial progress today. But all that I could see was that some white protective sheet had been erected to cover the scaffolding at the far end.

There are however a couple of guys on the scaffolding down at this end working on the wall so if I can get away early on my way to the physiotherapist tomorrow afternoon I’ll go for a closer look and see how they are doing.

jersey trawler Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While all of this was going on, I was having a good look around out at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, Jersey was standing out quite clearly this afternoon. With some digital enhancing we can see plenty of boats out there this afternoon, like the fishing boat over to the right that might even be the same one that we’ve seen in the bay for the last couple of days.

And it’s not all that usual that we see the eastern end of the island so clearly, yet here it is today. I was trying to identify some of the buildings there by reference to an aerial photo, but without very much success.

boats leaving harbour st helier jersey Eric Hall photo September 2021A little further around to the west there’s a really good view of several boats leaving the harbour at St Helier.

The one on the extreme left of the image caught my eye. Blowing up the image as much as I could, I could see that it has some kind of winching gear on the stern, but it looks too big to be a trawler.

However, there was nothing arriving at or leaving the port round about that time that corresponded with a ship of this nature.

And then we have another couple of trawlers heading our way

trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy Eric Hall photo September 2021With nothing else going on over here (as if all of this isn’t enough) I went to have a closer look at Cap Fréhel, which I could see with my naked eye today, and then across the lawn and the car pary around to the end of the headland.

In the past, I can’t recall having seen fishing boats working in the strait here between Granville and Cancale over in Brittany, but that all changed fairly recently when we noticed them starting to try to exploit this area. There’s a trawler out there this afternoon trying to see what it can pull up out of the sea bed.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I wonder if this constant search for new fishing grounds is due to the issues over fishing rights further out in the Baie de Granville.

hotels baie de mont st michel Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021A little earlier I mentioned how nice the weather was today and how clear the sky was.

Down at the foot of the Baie de Mont St Michel, while we can’t actually see the Mont until someone removes the Pointe de Carolles and the Cabanon Vauban that sits thereupon, we can see the hotels on the mainland this afternoon.

If you look just slightly to the right of the foot of the Pointe de Carolles you’ll see a few white or light grey buildings. These are where anyone who comes to visit the Mont and stay overnight will usually stay because prices actually on the Mont itself are quite simply out of this world.

And there on the mainland they aren’t really all that much better, I suppose. It’s pretty much a captive audience over there.

l'omerta chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, it’s “all change” at the chantier naval this afternoon.

As I walked along the path on the top of the cliff towards the port, I could see that things were looking quite different down there this afternoon. And it looks as if there has been a massive clear-out today.

The only boat that is left today is L’Omerta. The other boats that were in there – Hera, Le Pescadore and Catherine-Philippe – have now gone back into the water.

The next question is “who is going to come into the chantier naval to take their place?”.

belle france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021It’s a lot more normal over at the ferry terminal this afternoon.

The new ferry Belle France and the little freighter Chausiaise are moored over there this afternoon. The two Joly France boats are probably out at sea somewhere. And they’ve closed up the jib of the crane as well, which is good news for the hydraulic seals.

Meanwhile, in other news, there’s some kind of jogging team out there on the quayside going for a run. They’ve turned off and are starting to run along the wall around the port de plaisance.

And I’m intrigues to find out what will happen when they reach the end, because there’s a large gap in the wall. Perhaps it’s the start of a triathlon and they are all going to leap into the sea and swim across.

Back in the past, I took part in a triathlon, but only the once. I was busy doing the water leg when I suddenly thought to myself “this is silly. I’m getting the bike all rusty here”.

marquees chicane rue du port Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Over the last few days we’ve seen interesting developments taking place in the Rue du Port.

We have the chicane of course, and the marquee that they erected yesterday. But now a couple more marquees have sprung up on the car park of the Fish Processing Plant. This is all starting to become interesting.

And we can see that Marité is back in town as well. She’s been absent for the last couple of days. Well, in fact, she hasn’t really. She’s been nipping out early on the morning tide for a lap around the Ile de Chausey or over to Cancale and not come back until the evening tide.

Hence my mid-afternoon walk has missed her.

aztec lady capo di fora spirit of conrad mini y port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Meanwhile, In other news, we have a couple of new visitors in the port.

The white yacht on the extreme right next to the blue Aztec Lady is called Capo di Fora. Despite her Italian-sounding name, she’s actually flying the Belgian flag, as, incidentally, her neighbour Spirit of Conrad, the yacht on which we went up and down the Brittany coast last summer.

The large grey yacht is called Mini Y, registered in the UK. She’s a “Baltic 85” yacht built in Finland in 2018 of fibre and composite construction and weighs in at just 50 tonnes.

She’s been cruising along the North European coast for the last few days and just recently has been roaming around St Malo and the waters between there and here

Back here in the apartment I had a few things to finish off and then I was just on the point of starting some work when Rosemary called me again.

Once we’d finished, it was long past my tea time so I grabbed an aubergine and kidney-bean whatsit out of the freezer and had that with some pasta. That tasted really nice, and it would have been even nicer had I not dropped the bottle of tabasco sauce in it.

***Note to self – put toilet roll in fridge tonight ***

And now I’m off to bed – going to make the most of my lie-in for the next few days to see if it makes me feel any better. Although I have a feeling that I’ll need more than this to liven me up.

Wednesday 8th September 2021 – I HAVE HAD …

… a nightmare this afternoon after I came home from the physiotherapist – a real nightmare

new fishing boat port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But more about that anon. Let’s first say “hello” to the New Kid On The Block.

If that boat had been in and around the harbour previously, I would have been sure to have noticed it with its pretty distinctive, if not garish colour scheme.

She seems to be fitted out as an inshore fishing boat, the kind that fishes for shellfish, and she’s local to some extent in that her registration number begins with “CH” indicating that she’s registered in Cherbourg, so she obviously belongs somewhere up the coast here.

She’s not easy to miss so I’ll have to keep my eye open to see if she hangs around for a bit.

Anyway, this morning I didn’t hang around at all. As soon as the alarm went off I fell out of bed and went to take my medication.

Once that was out of the way I finished off the computer that I’d been repairing. While I was writing up my notes last night I was thinking of a way round accessing the files on the old hard drive that was locked in “administrator only” mode and because it was in a caddy, there was no way of entering the admin password.

Well there is, actually, if you think about it and it’s not for nothing that I have 32GB of RAM these days in the big desktop machine. Mind you, I was there until almost 01:00 doing it this morning fighting my way in but by the time that I’d finished everything was now on an external drive.

So this morning it was a case of loading it back up and performing a compare with the directory names. These days Windows writes its own and is no respecter of case so I had to make sure that the names on the external drive corresponded with the names that Windows created, otherwise that would have caused more problems.

Once that was all finally done, I could turn my attention to last night’s voyages. One of our number was due home at about 19:00 from her work in Stockport so about 18:30 mother started to fill the oven and warm it up ready to start cooking and baking the bread. The oven was on and everything was in there but she didn’t show up. We wondered where she’d got to – she’d left no messages or rung any of us to say that she was going to be late. We were puzzled as to where she was. It was getting close to Christmas and we had all of out Christmas shopping to do, all that kind of thing and we couldn’t really afford to be wasting several hours here and there while someone goes off gallivanting and we have work to do. One of the people in this house was a little girl probably about 8 or 9 or something. There was a game on the market, like a multilingual game about being in charge of a fire engine. Part of the publicity was about a house that was burning down. I’d already seen this game once in English but the publicity that we saw just now was being displayed in Welsh. Then she said that she was going to be visiting Aberhonddu and I was impressed that I said that in my sleep rather than the English “Brecon”. I thought that it was strange that I’d heard nothing about that so I asked how she was going. She said that they were going by aeroplane which I thought was a really weird way for a school trip to be setting off like that with schools so strapped for cash.

Another large pile of arrears disappeared too and now there are only 5 of them.

The rest of the morning was spent looking through my collection of photos from 2006-07-08 for 9 or 10 significant ones that currently have a very important meaning. I eventually found them too, after a great deal of difficulty too

After lunch I had a quick shower and then headed out for my physiotherapy.

delivery van transshipping porte st jean Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Just out at the back here we have yet another delivery that can’t make it through the Porte St Jean into the old walled town.

It’s not for me to say anything … “not that that’s ever stopped you in the past” – ed … but this is a local delivery from a local company, and so I thought that they might be aware of the difficulties of delivering to the old town.

They don’t really need a vehicle of that size to deliver their domestic appliances ao surely a smaller one that can pass underneath the walls would have been a better bet.

peche a pied port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Out in the Baie de Mont St Michel the tide is well out this afternoon, so we have some people out there at the pêche à pied.

Not that the pêche à pied is anything that interests me over-much but were it to do so, I wouldn’t be doing it just there right at the entrance to the harbour where the boats pass by directly overhead.

What is interesting about this photo is that back in the early part of the year we saw the big earth-moving machines down there digging out the sandbank that forms to the right in the harbour mouth. It didn’t take too long for it to come back again, did it?

thora unloading port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was walking on down the Rue des Juifs I could see a familiar antenna sticking up and visible from above the walls, so I went to the viewpoint overlooking the port for a good look.

Sure enough, our old friend Thora is back in town this afternoon. And a very clean and spruced-up Thora too. When she first came into port a few years ago she was looking beautiful but the weather and the sea had taken a dreadful toll of her.

But now at least on the superstructure above the waterline, she’s looking really tidy with a fresh coat of paint. I wonder if they’ll take her out of the water at some point and paint below the waterline.

unloading vehicles from thora port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021By the time that I arrived at the viewpoint, it looked as if I’d missed the exciting bit.

The big crane was just lifting its jib up and away from the lorry down there, so it looks as if Thora has brought into port that motorhome and trailer that are on the back of the lorry.

It’s quite possible that this has been the repatriation of a broken-down motorhome and the freight and transport charges via St Malo have made them think about another way of bringing it home to France from the Channel Islands.

roadworks diversion rue couraye Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the port I headed off up the Rue Couraye toward the physiotherapist.

Near the top I stumbled across another diversion in the street. Roadworks in the Rue du Boscq by the looks of things so I shall go that way and check them out on my way home.

At the physiotherapist’s I was put through my paces with a different collection of exercises today. He’s certainly making me work in there and I hope that it’s going to be doing me some good. I need to be much better than this if I want to do any good in the future.

roadworks uprooting railway line rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021On the way back, I went down to the Rue du Boscq to see what was happening.

To the immediate left where these concrete pipes have been dropped, that was where the old railway line down to the port used to run. They’ve ripped that out as far as down here now by the looks of things.

Then there’s the street itself. The surface has been ripped out and is probably going to be resurfaced in the near future, with new drains (hence the concrete pipes).

Somewhere underneath all of this is a little river that flows down to the port. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were to remove the culverting and open it up. But there’s little chance of that.

uprooting railway line boulevard louis dior Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021That photo was taken to the left at the bottom of the hill. This is the photo taken looking to the right.

You can see the railway lines embedded in the road but further on, they’ve been ripped up. This was the part of the line that we saw them dismantling from the other end when we were off on our way to leuven one morning.

It’s really a shame to see the railway pulled out like this. It really marks the end of an era, signifying that the port is no longer important enough to warrant a railway connection. All of the seafood goes by road now, and we’ve seen the refrigerated lorries at the Fish Processing Plant.

It’s not really encouraging when you consider the drive for carbon neutrality.

On the way back to home I dropped into an estate agent’s. There’s a project to convert an old bank building into apartments and the sign has been on there for as long as I’ve been living here. I went to ask what was the latest state of play and, basically, we’re no further on that we were 4.5 years ago at all.

bouchot beds donville les bains people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021The climb back up the hill was a little easier so while I was here I went to look at the beach to see what was happening.

There had been a terrific thunderstorm and rainstorm this morning that had soaked everything in sight so even though the storm had long gone, I was surprised to see so many people on the beach as there were.

With the tide being way out right now, the bouchot beds out at Donville are well out of the water. And they stretch for miles too. You can see the tractors and trailers out there harvesting the crop while they are clear of the water.

Back here my problems really began when I returned. I had my banana smoothie and came in here to drink it. Instead I fell asleep for another 90-minute marathon and I could have well-done without this afternoon.

And then disaster struck. All of the cheap seats on the train to Leuven and back have gone – in fact my favourite train, the 7:17 back, is fully booked up and there’s no seat at all. There’s no room at my favourite bolt-hole either so I’ve had to shack up at an Ibis Budget.

That’s not the worst of it either. My credit card isn’t recognised by my card reader – it will only recognise the previous card. But that is blocked of course because the more recent one has replaced it. And then my Belgian Visa Debit card won’t work for some reason either.

In the end I had to pay with my French Mastercard and I’m not at all happy about that. All in all, I’ve had a disaster today as far as all of that goes.

Tea was pasta and a vegan burger and still no dessert (I’ve lost 100 grammes since Monday) so I’ve come back in here to write up my notes and then have an early night. My appointment at the doctor’s is … gulp … 08:30 and I’m not looking forward at all to that. Not at all.

Monday 6th September 2021 – HERE THIS AFTERNOON …

marite port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021… in the port we have Marité, back again after her outing at the weekend and tied up at her usual spec in the corner at the end of the harbour.

And today, it’s Monday, so everyone is back at work or at school and Marité thus has nothing to do and nowhere to go.

So as you might expect, we are having one of the most beautiful, warm and sunny days of the summer so far (even though it’s September).

It’s a very sharp contrast indeed to yesterday when she was out and about with the Sunday day-trippers in one of the thickest fogs that I have ever encountered since I’ve been here when the tourists couldn’t see a thing.

port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was down there at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour I had a good look around to see how the Galeon Andalucia was doing.

And there she was! Gone! And never called me mother! Apparently she slipped out of port on the morning tide earlier today and is now heading off back down the coast on her way home. I shall have to catch up with her later.

Right now though, I have to say that I had a rather miserable night last night, tossing and turning in bed for ages with a very disturbed sleep.

There is some stuff on the dictaphone too. We were going north to Scotland, 4 of us. One of them was CPO Pertwee. I can’t remember what it was that we were planning to do but to climb a mountain was not exactly some part of it but we thought that that might have been a possibility that we could have reached the top. There was a tremendous overhang at some point and it wasn’t a very easy climb at all. Pertwee asked “what do you think would be in the papers if we actually climbed it?” and he replied that it would be first of all the leader and the fourth person would have climbed up, secondly followed by Pertwee and me, with me carrying all of the equipment of course. Then we turned round and went back and ended up that night on this camp site just outside somewhere in the Scottish lowlands. Who should be bump into but a girl who worked in Crewe. A young girl. I was following the other 3 around all alongside the river but I ended up talking to this girl. We had a bit of a chat but she didn’t seem to be very interested in having a longer chat or anything like that. In the end I drifted away but I couldn’t find the other 3. The bottom end of this path was crowded with people partying. There were lights and everything but I couldn’t find the other 3 and thought “had I know, I would have brought this girl down with me regardless of what she wanted to do and we could have joined the party.

later on we’d all been out at the weekend to go somewhere. There was talk that we might all go out there again the coming weekend. In the meantime we were all thinking about tidying up the house. I was ill and was at home so my mother had me help her tidy up the house which was not my plan at all. She asked me to vacuum off a few surfaces but she had all kinds of rubbish on them including half of a dead plant that she had broken off branches and had leaves everywhere. The vacuum cleaner started to suck up the leaves and jammed so I had to start to pick up all these leaves and branches by hand and move them outside. Then she came down and hardly took a bit of notice about what I was doing and chatting away about this plan of the question of going away again for the day came up. I thought that I’d like to invite this girl who I’d met. I suddenly realised that that meant that there would be 6 of us in the car and it would be overcrowded. I thought that I could take her in BILL BADGER but he was hardly the kind of vehicle for taking girls out on dates. I had several old Cortinas dotted around (again!) the garden and the place wasn’t looking very tidy at all. There was a beige MkIII saloon there that was quite rotten. I was wondering if I set to work and did the bodywork on it this week and get it to be presentable. There was a nagging feeling in my mind that there was a time limit that I had to do something – a legal time limit but I couldn’t remember what it was. I knew that if I didn’t do it there would be complications but I couldn’t remember when or where it was that I had to do this.

Despite how I was feeling, I did manage to crawl out of the arms of Morpheus and into the kitchen to take my medication, and then back into here to check my mails and messages.

Once all of that was dealt with I could crack on with the radio programme that I need to deal with today.

Up until about 10:40 I was doing really well and all that remained was to choose the last track. And then the wheels came off because I was interrupted by a telephone call.

A few days ago I had an idea about a series of radio programme for later on in the year and i’d sent a mail to the co-ordinator. He called me back at about 10:40 and we had a very lengthy chat.

As a result it wasn’t until about 12:05 that I finished the programme, about an hour after I had intended to, and then I had to draft a lengthy report as well as to send out a few feelers here and there to potential interviewees.

After lunch I had a shower and then went to see the co-ordinator where we chatted for well over an hour, batting ideas backwards and forward about how I intend to do it. So now, not only do I have a plan drawn up, I have an awful lot of work before me until Christmas

By the time that I had come back, it was time to go back out again for my afternoon walk, so I grabbed the big NIKON D500 and headed off outside.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Naturally, the first port of call is going to be the wall at the end of the car park where I can look down upon the beach and see what is happening.

And despite it being a work day or a school day, there were plenty of people down there on the beach this afternoon.

Not only that, there were plenty of people down there in the water too. No surprise there, given the beautiful day. You can tell that just by looking at the colour of the water down there.

a href=”https://www.erichall.eu/images/2109/21090044.html”>people on beach rue du nord plat gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021Now that I can actually see something out there this afternoon, I had a look further down the beach to see what was going on there too.

Down at the bottom of the steps, bottom right in the photo, we have someone armed with his surfboard or paddleboard or whatever on the point of heading out to the water.

Further down, there were plenty of people out there at the water’s edge at the Plat Gousset. That’s the most popular beach around here and is always where you’ll find the crowds, if there are any about. Access to the beach is much easier there.

fisherman in kayak pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was sounding out the beach down there, I was also looking around out at sea to see what was going on there.

This afternoon we have a fisherman down there in a kayak. He certainly has a couple of fishing rods with him but I imagine that trying to cast a line from a kayak is not a very easy proposition.

What has also caught my eye is whatever it is that he has at the back of his kayak. It looks rather like a set of wheels to me, so maybe it’s something that he can use to pull his boat in and out of the water from the beach.

frogmen scuba divers pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021His wasn’t the only aquatic activity that was being undertaken out there this afternoon.

Out there just offshore we have a couple more frogmen – or frogpersons as I suppose that we have to call them these days.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall having seen them a while ago out there in more or less the same spot and I couldn’t understand what they were doing then. It’s probably something to do with training although I don’t know why they would want to do it just there.

red microlight ulm pointe du roc Granville Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was watching the water sports down there I was overflown once more.

It was the little red microlight that we have seen on several occasions. He’s up there with a passenger, by the looks of things, and they were doing a couple of laps around the end of the headland.

Once he disappeared finally out of view, I wandered off across the car park to the end of the headland. There wasn’t anything else going on out at sea which was a surprise given how nice the day was today.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six F-GVJC pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021While I was wandering out that way, something else came flying past overhead.

One look at the machine told me who it might be, without even seeing her registration number. She’s F-GVJC, the Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six that we’ve seen a few times. You can tell that by her elongated nose.

She doesn’t seem to have filed a flight plan for this journey so I’m not able to say where she’s going, although it can’t have been far because later on this evening she took off again for Melun, near Paris.

Airbus A321-271NX G-WUKN pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021This aeroplane is much more easy to identify because even at 20,000 feet we can see her livery.

She’s G-WUKN, an Airbus A321-271NX and she’s flying flight W65122 on behalf of Wizz Air between Fuerteventura and Luton Airport at a speed of 347 knots. She was built in Germany, where she is currently registered, and her first commercial flight was as recently as March this year.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a good view of a full-size aeroplane flying overhead, and we were lucky to have this view because as you can see, she’s being overtaken by a load of cloud and we are on the point of losing sight of her.

fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021At the end of the headland I could see out into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

There is one of the smaller fishing boats heading back towards port although I don’t know why because the harbour gates won’t be open for a while.

At first, I thought she might be La Grande Ancre but gazing full-on into the sun, it’s very difficult to make out anything.

There were no fishermen down there on the rocks and no-one at the Cabanon Vauban either, so I carried on along the path towards the viewpoint overlooking the port.

yann frederic chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021From the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval we can see that a change in occupancy this afternoon.

We stall have seven boats, the same number that we have had for the last couple of weeks, but the green, white and black trawler La Soupape that has been up there on the blocks for several weeks has now gone back into the water.

In her place is another trawler, the Yann Frederic. This is the first time that we’ve taken notice of her since we’ve been living here but I don’t suppose that it will be the last, judging by the length of tile that they spend on the blocks over there.

Mind you, they already seem to have made a good start on her, and there is someone working on one of her aerials.

joly france chausiaise ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo September 2021But whatever is happening here, I really have no idea.

One of the Joly France boats, the newer one of the two with the smaller superstructure and deeper windows, is over there moored at the ferry terminal.

Chausiaise is over there too, and I can’t think what she’s doing because it looks as if she’s moored right across the ferry terminal preventing any other boat from going in there to tie up.

The other two ferries, the older Joly France boat and the very new Belle France are nowhere about so Chausiaise had better move herself by the time that they come back.

Having looked at the inner harbour, I came on back home for my banana smoothie and to carry on with some work such as transcribing the dictaphone notes from the night, but instead I fell asleep. Not the way that I wanted to end my working day.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with rice and veg. And since I’ve been on this kind-of diet and having my physiotherapy I’ve lost 1.6 kilos. Still another 10 kilos to go but that’s probably going to take more effort than I have in the tank.

Now I’m off to bed. Our Welsh lessons start again tomorrow and I have a lot of work to do to bring myself up to date.

Wednesday 21st July 2021 – YOU CAN TELL …

zodiac speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… just what kind of day it4s been today? just by looking at a few photos that i took.

While I was out at the Pointe du Roc this afternoon there was the infernal racket once more as a rather large zodiac went roaring past, fully-loaded with passengers.

At least they were all wearing lifejackets, so it seemed, and that’s good news because it’s not every boat that sets out with its passengers properly equipped.

And as to where they are going or where they have come from, I’ve no idea. But wherever is their destination, they are cracking on as if they have le feux dans les fesses as they say around here, and are scorching past that speedboat, which is nothing like as speedy as the zodiac.

trawler l'alize 3 galapagos yacht rebelle chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while we are on the subject, it seemed that I arrived at the chantier naval at just about the right time this afternoon.

What with everything going on out at sea, it’s no surprise to see that one of the trawlers that was in there also has itchy feet.

You’ll notice that while there is still the yacht Rebelle, we only have two trawlers, L’Alize 3 and the new one whose name I have yet to discover, up there on blocks.

So where has Galapagos, the other trawler that was up on blocks, gone? Have a look very carefully at the portable boat lift. Can you see it in the cradle being lowered into the water in the harbour?

This morning I couldn’t see anything at all. Never mind STARRY-EYED AND LAUGHING I was bleary-eyed and coughing as I crawled from my stinking pit as the alarm went off at 08:00.

After the pile of meds that I’m obliged to take these days, I had a listen to the dictaphone to see where I’d been on my travels during the night. We were out last night again with the family, some of us, and I was with a girl and I can’t remember who she was again. She went off for a little stroll round where we were standing and fell in with someone who was quite a famous singer. He gave her a great big kiss so she was talking to him and sitting on a seat, though my wife didn’t mind. When they were sitting on these seats there was an odd number and someone was being left out. In the end they came back to my place, a caravan or something, and went over to where my niece, her husband and a few others were standing, grabbed hold of my niece and took her over there instead (… I fell asleep here …) anyway these guys and other people came over after us after we had gone back and I wasn’t quite sure why but they ended up picking up my niece she and the person who was her daughter and one or two other people and these two famous stars all set off and wandered off.

Another thing as well was that I was with my and my mother somewhere in a big apartment but it was a cluttered place and you couldn’t get much furniture against the walls and I was going to be moving here so I had to work out which of my stuff I was going to throw away. But I was asleep standing up against the window and you don’t really want to know the rest because you are probably eating your tea right now. And it’s been a while since one of my nocturnal rambles has finished in a mass of blood and gore and stuff like that, although with my family involved, it’s more than likely.

Later on I had a ticket for the Cup Final and Liverpool were playing a lesser team. It was quite an ordinary stadium, not Wembley. I walked towards the stadium and then turned back and sat down at a seat. Terry said “aren’t you going in?” “In a minute” I replied and then I headed off in. I wanted to squeeze my way into the stands behind the goal but it was empty – just 2 or 3 people. I went to take a place right at the top but the fascia board of the stand roof obscured the view so I had to come a few rows down. Some one asked “are Liverpool the ones in red?”. I replied “quite likely” – then I drew the guy’s attention to the fact that the other team weren’t wearing a proper kit but all kinds of multicoloured buttoned shirts, all different.

It’s not really surprising, is it, that sometimes I awaken more tired than I was when I went off to sleep.

So having printed out … gulp … 29 pages of notes for today’s class, I made my hot chocolate and grabbed some fruit bread and attacked the lesson.

We whacked our way through the whole pile of stuff by the time we finished, bleary-eyed yet again. We are going at a frantic pace and it’s no surprise that one of our number seems to have fallen by the wayside.

One of our number comes from Nantwich, he daughter went to my Grammar School and she knows everywhere that I know. She’s a big rock fan too so I sent her a link to my radio shows (shameless self-publicist that I am) and a copy of the “Strife” concert that I featured as my live concert at the end of February.

There really wasn’t much time for anything else – it was walkies time, rather later than usual of course this week.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNo matter how late I am, I always have to go for a look over the wall at the end of the car park down onto the beach below to see what’s happening there.

So off I toddled across the car park to look down on the beach and today, there was even less beach to look at than there was yesterday.

Plenty of people as well, some stretched out in the sun, others drying off and the rest splashing around in the sea like a bunch of demented dolphins.

A few kids today too – not many but certainly more than yesterday. And that beats me why there aren’t any more of them in weather like this in midsummer during a school holiday.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, as is my custom, while one pf my eyes was roving around the beach, the other one was roving out to sea to see what was going on there.

And we have another yacht today. I say “another” because I’m pretty certain that it isn’t the same one that we saw yesterday. It’s smaller for a start, and there seems to be only one man visible aboard her.

And although it looks as if she’s stationary, she is in fact moving slowly and she followed me all the way arund the headland.

And that reminds me of the man who went into the newsagency and asked the woman behind the counter if she kept stationery.
“Only until the last 10 seconds” she replied “and then I go berserk”.

Or as my doctor friend once told me about a young girl whom he was examining – “are you sexually active?” he asked her discreetly when her mother was out of earshot.
“No” she replied. “I just like there”.

la granvillaise baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallRegular readers of this rubbish will recall that we saw this boat out here in the Baie de Granville yesterday.

Today, there is no doubt as to her identity. If you look very closely, you’ll see that she has her “old” registration number painted in black at the top of one of the sails as you will see if you look closely.

“G90” – so there is no doubt at all that she is in fact La Granvillaise as I thought yesterday. And she’s out again presumably doing a carbon-copy of yesterday’s trip around and about

And as you might expect, there’s another perishing speedboat roaring past her as she leisurely cruises around out at sea.

trawler baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallMeanwhile, while everyone seems to be out in the sea playing around, some other people are still having to work.

As I looked farther out to sea I could see something moving around out there and sure enough, it was indeed a local trawler setting out for the fishing grounds.

By the time that I’d spotted it, it was already way out to sea, sailing past the outlers to the north-east of the Ile de Chausey and going at quite a rate of knots.

From my spec, I cleared off across the car park to the end of the Pointe du Roc to see what was happening there.

And with nothing going on there of any more importance than we have already seen either, I headed off down the path.

charles marie entering port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut hang on a minute! I hadn’t gone very far before I had to stop to take another photograph.

Into the port comes a boat whom we haven’t seen for quite a while. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph it before it began to disappear from my view, but I reckon that even without seeing her name, she’s Charles Marie – another one of the boats that plies for hire in the harbour.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen her. She must have a full summer season booked up and is keeping herself really busy even despite Covid.

And I’m glad that someone is for it’s rather grim for some of the others, such as the Jersey ferry boats Granville and Victor Hugo.

coelacanthe leaving port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd as I watechd Charles Marie disappear out of my sight, something else came the other way. Instead of entering the harbour she was leaving it.

It’s only when Tiberiade and Coelacanthe are side by side that I can tell them apart. But cleverly enlarging the photo when I returned to the apartment later, I could see that the trawler that we have here is Coelacanthe.

She’s heading out for the fishing grounds too, I reckon, and is also in quite a hurry for she’s not hanging around. And also in this image – and the previous one too – is the yellow and white fishing boat who was in the chantier navale for a while and whose name I have forgotten yet again.

yacht school baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallA little further on around the path, we’re back in playtime again.

It looks as if it’s full sail ahead for the yachting schools today. There seem to be a couple of different ones and you can tell them apart by the colours of the sails of their boats.

They are all out there in the bay this afternoon making the most of things and I’m quite jealous. Had I not had this little problem a couple of months ago, who knows? I might even have been out there with them I’m determined to have a go at sailing one of these days and pick up another certificate to add to my collection.

goods on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallFrom here I can see down into the inner harbour and the loading bay where the little freighters load up.

It’s no surprise to see that Thora who we saw yesterday has gone out of harbour. The turnround of these boats is so quick these days.

Yet there’s another pile of stuff on the quayside. Either it’s stuff that Thora brought in with her or else one of the Jersey freighters will be coming back soon and it’s a load for her.

But one thing that is annoying me is that we haven’t seen a gravel boat here for ages. There’s a special kind of gravel found near Avranches and there’s a big ready-mix concrete and roadstone plant near Sittingbourne.

We used to have big 2,500 tonne bulk carriers in here every few months taking gravel to Sittingbourne but with Brexit and the collapse of the British construction industry, we haven’t seen one in ages.

trawler galapagos leaving chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s something that we saw earlier this afternoon.

The trawler Galapagos was leaving the chantier naval earlier and was being lowered down into the water by the portable boat lift.

Now, she’s back in the water and giving her engines a little trial before presumably heading off into the wild blue yonder.

So what’s all this about “no fresh fish being sold until” …. whenever it was … then? She’s back in the water a long time before she’s due to start selling her produce, so has this overhaul been quicker than expected, or ar the crew all now going to be going off on holiday?

As for me, I’m going off back home because it’s late and I have things to do. And by the time that I had finished I’d missed my bass guitar practice. The acoustic practice I’d done at lunchtime.

Tea tonight was pasta and burger followed by more of my delicious apple turnover.

And now I’m off to bed. All fighting fit and ready for my Welsh lesson tomorrow. I don’t think.

Saturday 10th October 2020 – WE’VE HAD A …

… footfest today again.

Football Stade Louis Dior FC Fleury 91 US Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStarting off was a match between second (US Granville) and third (FC Fleury 91) tonight in French National 2. And I’m not quite sure how these clubs are as high in the league as they are right now.

Granville’s attack was the usual lightweight aimless effort that was easily dealt with by the Fleury defence but if you think that that was pretty poor, Fleury’s attack was even less effective and never really put the Granville keeper under any pressure. He just had one or two awkward crosses to take and he made a good save with his feet on one occasion.

Admittedly, for 15 minutes or so after the start of the second half Granville had something of a purple patch and forced the Fleury keeper into a couple of brilliant saves, but I reckon in all honesty that both teams could still be out there now and it would still be 0-0.

That was followed by a match in the JD Cymru Welsh Premier League between Bala Town and Aberystwyth Town. And anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the score – 5-2 in favour of Bala – represented a pretty one-sided match.

But it was far from that. Aberystwyth were giving as good as they were getting but the difference was that Aberystwyth really didn’t offer anything much up front. In contrast, Bala were electric and had Connor Roberts in the Aberystwyth goal not had such an outstanding game, Bala could easily have doubled their score.

But Aberystwyth’s captain Marc Williams impressed me tonight. He scored one of their goals, cleared a Bala shot off the line, and was always in the thick of the action for his team. In short, I don’t think that Aberystwyth Town can be too disappointed with their performance.

As for me, I’m quite disappointed with mine. 07:45 when I finally arose from my stinking pit this morning. And as a result, everything was running rather late today.

It’s no surprise however that I was so late arising this morning. With the distance that I travelled during the night I must have only just come back by then.

The night started off with me round at my mother’s place which was actually my place in Gainsborough Road and on the worktop was a newspaper folded over …. and here I must have fallen asleep here.

Then we were at a market stall. We were doing something and I can’t remember what it was. It might have been the records or LPs. I had a wind turbine up there and it was stuck on a pole that was stuck over a kind of spike. It wasn’t particularly secure and the blade wasn’t particularly well attached. I had it up there and every now and again it would go round but suddenly the wind got up and it started to go round like the clappers. It had been powering a small radio but now I thought that I’d better take it down because it would come off or fall over and this could be quite dangerous in the middle of this marketplace so I switched it off. Then this family walked past, a mother, father and a couple of girls. They were speaking German. By this time the machine had started off again. I’d been up on a ladder doing something to it. These girls went past and were talking in German. One of them had picked up something and had greasy, oily hands so whoever I was with said “ohh yes come and wash them on our stall”. I thought “I’m going to have to take this wind turbine down because it’s dangerous the way it’s going round like this.

At one stage we (whoever “we” were) were afraid of being attacked by vampires so we were wrapping our bed in clingfilm so at least the sheets would stay where they were and wouldn’t be distorted while we were raunging around in bed

Later on, I was with a girl. We were a couple and we had started going out together. We were walking hand in hand aimlessly around Nantwich. She’d been telling me a few things here and there. There was a dance on at a club. She happened to mention it so I said “if I give you some money could you get a couple of tickets on Monday?”. She said “it’s not been officially announced yet” but I replied “we could get into the queue and get some”. There was one of these Viennese waltzes that was playing so I picked her up and we waltzed off down the street with a couple of other couples as well. Considering that she’d never danced before she was at least keeping in time to the music as we waltzed off down the street at the side of the church. We went round the corner and coming towards us was a Morris Oxford MO-type pickup, making a hell of a racket. The first thing that went through my mind was that it had a diesel in it. We waited for him to park and I went over to talk to him. You couldn’t hear a word that he was saying, it was so noisy. I asked him about his pickup. “Is it a diesel?”. he said “no, it’s a 17-litre engine in this, very powerful and they use them to power aeroplanes “. “Ahh” I replied. “A Lycoming”. he was immediately pleased that I knew exactly what a Lycoming was. But when he pulled up the bonnet is was the weirdest kind of Lycoming that I’ve ever seen. 17 litres of this engine, a parallel V twin combine thing, probably about 8 cylinders altogether. It was hot and steamy and making a racket – clearly a custom job. I asked if I could take a couple of photos of it as I had the camera on the telephone. he said “no problem but don’t put them on the internet here”.

Later a group of us were talking about an architect from Nantwich and in 1709 he collected the keys for his new building, the new National Westminster Bank because the older one had proved to be much too small at the time. But it wasn’t the NatWest bank, it was the one on the Square (Barclays?) that we were talking about but I had the NatWest Bank in my mind at the time.

Finally I was in work last night in Stoke on Trent and I was retiring at the end of the following month. However due to accumulated leave I was retiring in 2 weeks time. I’d told no-one about this before but now that my plans were finalised I started to tell people, but it didn’t create any kind of emotion from anyone and I was surprised if no disappointed. I was trying to avoid doing any work and the post was building up, but I didn’t care too much – just hoping that I’d gone before the post count. In the toilet were several cards and a few candles welcoming a new arrival – someone with a strange name that I can’t remember. A few people were in there and I asked anyone if they knew him but apparently not. Back in the main office (which was now back in Crewe) I met the Manager. He told me that I could come and watch the full moon in his office that evening at 08:00 but part of it might not be visible as it wouldn’t quite be over the roof of the building and we’d have to crane our necks round. I arranged to meet my father at 20:00 to see it with him but I reckoned that I could bring him into the office seeing as it was after working hours. But when we looked outside it was pouring with rain and I thought that we wouldn’t see very much if this carries on.

Is it any longer that I stayed so long in bed when I’d been out this far during the night?

So after a shower and setting the washing machine en route, I headed off for the shops. But not without a sense of disappointment. I noticed that my decline in weight came about through a variety of factors, one of which was the fact that I’d not been having the medical treatment. On the scales, I noticed that my weight is now risen back over my first target weight again despite everything that I’ve been trying to do to keep it down.

At the shops, NOZ came up with nothing and neither did LeClerc. And what it didn’t come up with was fresh figs. The season has finished, so it seems. I’m not sure how I’m going to make my kefir now in these circumstances.

But there was some excitement on the carpark when some motorist came the wrong way around the one-way system there and blocked all the traffic.

Old Cars Talbot Samba Convertible Hypermarche LeClerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not only that, the car park came up trumps again for another reason. I’ve lost count of the number of old cars that I’ve seen there quite recently.

And whilst this car may not be particularly old – probably somewhere between 35 and 40 years old – it’s nevertheless quite an exciting and rare find. That’s because these cars had a dreadful reputation for poor quality and unreliability.

It’s a Talbot Samba, a modem that was launched in late 1981 by PSA. It’s basically a Peugeot 104 and not one of the even worse Chrysler drop-offs from the late 70s that PSA took over when they purchased Chrysler’s European operations

Old Cars Talbot Samba Convertible Hypermarche LeClerc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe Chrysler models like the Alpine and the Solara were so bad that the very name of Talbot was tainted and these cars just didn’t sell at all. The total number of Sambas made over the 5-year period was 275,000, despite it being marketed as “Europe’s Most Economical Car” and its rally successes.

What’s even more unusual about this particular model is that it’s a cabriolet, or convertible. These were launched the following year and until production of the Samba finished in 1986, a grand total of just 13,000 or so was built.

To give you some idea of the longevity of these cars, a good proportion of Sambas were sold in the UK and in 2016 there were said to be only 14 remaining. And so finding a convertible still on the roads even in France is something quite astonishing.

Orange Grape Kefir Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBack home, having put the frozen food in the freezer, first job was to peel and then whizz up three oranges. And then I threw in a handful of grapes for good measure.

The resultant mash was filtered and pressed through a series of filters to extract the juice. The kefir that was brewing was then filtered too and added into the juice. It was all mixed together.

Having sterilised a few flip-top pressure bottles, I poured the kefir-orange-grape liquid into the bottles and sealed them. And then, with my last fig, I made up another kefir solution and left that fermenting for when I’ve exhausted the bottles that I’ve just made.

Back in the office I had a few things to do after a rather late lunch and shame as it is to admit it, I fell asleep for a good 45 minutes. We’re back on this lark again, so it seems.

On my way out to the football I went past the la Vie Claire, Health Food Shop, so I popped in to see if they had any figs. They hadn’t, but the greengrocer’s, la Halle Gourmande, further down the street did. There were three left but one of them looked distinctly dodgy so I left with the other two.

At the football we were drenched with a shower of rain for a few minutes. It had looked so nice earlier too, but it cleared off quickly and I had a nice walk home afterwards to watch the football on the internet.

It’s late now and I’m tired despite all the time that I’ve spent asleep so I’m off to bed and I’ll finish my notes in the morning.

Sunday 4th October 2020 – SUNDAY IS A …

… Day of Rest, so a lie-in until 10:45 doesn’t bother me in the slightest. And even less so when I was still up, about and working at 02:00 this morning.

Mind, you, I’m surprised that I was even back by that time because I’d travelled miles during the night.

We’d been really busy at home and a lot of things hadn’t been done. I’d been taking the stuff out of the sink. The sink outlet was blocked – there wa s aload of waste food blocking it and I had to pull it out with my hands. My mother made some kind of smart remark about it. I said “so I’ve forgotten to empty the sink properly. Don’t you think that I do enough work around here?” It developed into a bit of a slanging match about this kind of thing. Then my brother started, because something that I’d said he thought referred to him not having done anything so he was annoyed. I turned round and said “what did I say the very first off? – ‘so I haven’t emptied the sink’. How can you possibly think that this relates to you?”. This argument carried on for a good while, and then my mother ended up talking about jobs. I’d seen a part-time job on offer at a local chemist, and I’d mentioned it. My mother rang up about it. She was talking and apparently the chemist had spoken to her and said “I have 2 or 3 other applicants. I have to read their CVs and e-mails and then I’ll get back to you”. My mother said “yes, it’s not every day that you meet someone where there’s a possibility of a job because everyone has these jobs all sewn up for special people”.
Interestingly, that job that I have seen in the South Sandwich Islands – the list of requirements and the essential skills of any applicant is so closely written that it’s clear that it’s a job designed to appeal to just one specific person and merely advertised “just for form”.

Later on last night we were on board ship again. There was a young girls’ rock band there but they couldn’t find their bassist so they never got to play. hey just wandered around a bit. Some time later the bassist appeared, a little blonde-haired girl in a yellow bikini, very attractive. We started to have a chat and I felt that I was well-in here but suddenly I was transferred away and ended up in Stoke on Trent. I’ve no idea what happened in Stoke on Trent now but whatever it was, it was a disappointment compared to what happened earlier

Later again I’d been out in Caliburn and one or two other vehicles here and there. I was pretty busy and dashing all over the place. There was still plenty to do and one of the things was to meet someone. One of our guys had gone off with a pile of kids to take them out somewhere so we were going around Crewe in Market Terrace and we came to the cinema. We had to go inside for something and I met the girl whom I was supposed to meet. She said “ohh that’s so-and-so”. We looked up and there was a pile of kids disappearing up the stairs into the cinema. “Yes, he’s taking them to the cinema”. She said “I have to go in there as well. You come too”. I replied “yes, OK”. It was Mary Poppins or something like that. She said “what about the books?” I replied “I have them outside in the van”. Then I thought “I hope that I’ve come in the van”. I couldn’t remember what vehicle I was in. I had to go outside but the van was parked in Market Terrace on double-yellow lines with its hazard lights on so I had to find somewhere to move it. By now it had transformed itself into a motorbike so I could ride it a little bit and I found a place that would be absolutely ideal to put it. So I had to turn round back the wrong way in this one-way street and found where I thought was good but it was up a couple of steps behind a little low fence. I thought “this is going to be interesting to get in here”. I also had a cat, an old black cat like Tuppence. I thought “what’s she going to do?”. She just got onto the low stone wall that this fence was attached to, curled up and went to sleep. I thought “I’ve got something I can padlock her to the railings so she wouldn’t stray too far. Some old guy turned up, a homeless type of person, and started to chat to me. He was talking a bit of nonsense really and I thought that I would never ever get back to this cinema in time to watch this performance with this girl at this rate if he carries on like this.

I was dictating again into my empty hand but I had to meet someone again at some car sales place. I pulled into the car park at the back but they wanted something else so I had to nip home. I came back in Caliburn. The guy had rung me up to say that he was there in a white Toyota van. I arrived there round at the front and he was sitting there in his van parked up between the vehicles that were for sale. I beckoned him and we went round the back and went to pull into this car park but found that there was now a chain across it. I thought “this is going to be no good because I had my car in there. How the heck am I going to get it out in order to to go home now? ” That was another problem that I was going to have to think of right now.

So some time subsequently I pushed up to North Germany from the south all the way up to the north. I came to a town where there was a bridge to cross over the river. It was a bridge that I knew and had used quite a few times. I arrived and, inexplicably, the bridge had collapsed and there was no way of getting across the river except by walking. I parked my car and picked my way up through the debris of this bridge and somehow managed to cross. I was climbing up the other side to the motorway and the ‘phone rang. It was of all people a guy with whom I used to play in a band. We had a very lengthy chat and the past, everything like that but this really was the wrong moment. So we chatted and yes, he found out that it was me through the internet and guessed that it was me and did I ever do a couple of things that I said that I was going to do when I was younger? Had I heard from our guitarist? “Not for 45 years”. In the end we finished and promised to call each other again but whether we would or not I dunno. I got to this autoroute and of course there were no cars on it – there wasn’t any point with the bridge being down. I set off walking and it really was a hike up. But I pressed on regardless and particularly sailed up this slope past the place where I usually stopped for a coffee to get my breath but just as well, as it was closed. All the way up to the top of this hill and I reached the village and they allowed me in. The first thing that I wanted to do was to go to the bathroom but there was some woman cleaning outside. Some guy coming out made some ribald remark about the woman. Eventually she let me and and I found an empty cubicle.

Writing out all of that was a work of art in itself and accounted for much of what was left of the morning. And while for the rest of the day I didn’t get up to all that much. Sunday is a Day of Rest and everyone should have one day in the week and do nothing, and not feel ashamed about doing it.

No matter how much work I have on hand, a leisurely day once a week is an important part of my rhythm.

Aftermath of Storm Alex Waves On Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOf course, there’s my afternoon walk. So, taking my courage and my raincoat in both hands, I set out in the rain.

Luckily the rain wasn’t quite as heavy as last night and the wind had dropped down to “powerful” (probably about Force 12 on the Beaufort Scale) rather than “horrific”. But that was never going to be an issue. What was however an issue was the sea. As you can see, it’s totally wild out there this afternoon with the strong winds whipping up the waves and creating whitecaps way out to sea. Not the afternon to be out there at all, and there was no chance whatever today of seeing the Channel Islands.

Everyone else thought so too because there wasn’t even one boat out there that I could see. Mind you, I couldn’t see that far.

Devastation of Storm Alex Place du Marché aux Chevaux Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWalking round to the viewpoint at the Rue du Nord I could see that there was nothing whatever going on there, so I continued on my way along the street.

There were signs of devastation everywhere. In the Place du Marché aux Chevaux they installed barriers to prevent people approaching the crumbling walls just there But they aren’t there any longer. They have been swept away in the storm and the no-waiting signs, anchored in concrete in old vehicle wheels, have just been bowled over like skittles.

There was no-one about so even though it was raining and I was in my all-weather gear, I ran all the way down the footpath underneath the walls. At least I could see where the puddles were so that I could take avoiding action.

Medieval Fish Trap Plat Gousset Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAt my usual resting point after my run, I stopped and looked down on the beach to see what was going on.

There was nothing at all happening, but at least you could see the Medieval fish trap and how it works. It would be round about this state of tide that all of the fisherwomen in the Middle Ages would be wading about in there pulling out the fish with their hands.

So please take careful note of this, British people, for after Brexit it might be a handy thing for you to do if hedgerow foraging fails to come up with the goods.

From there I walked on down to the viewpoint over the Plat Gousset but there was nothing whatever going on down there so I continued on my way.

Storm Baie de Mont St Michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThere was no-one at all in the Square Maurice Marland so seeing that it was sheltered from the wind I seized the opportunity to run all the way down there. I may as well push the boat out while I can.

It has been raining steadily throughout the afternoon with no sign whatever of stopping. However I did notice that there was going to be a change. Looking at that cloud out there in the Baie de Mont St Michel and the heavy rain that was streaming down from it, it was going to get worse. This was not the time to be hanging around, I reckon. I headed off towards home.

No-one about on my final leg of my trip from the church to my place so I ran all the way despite the savage headwind. That was my three runs all accomplished during the afternoon which means that I can take it easy this evening, if the rain and the rest of the weather allow me to go out.

Back here, despite my Day of Rest, I had promised to empty out the freezer and defrost it.

All of the contents went into plastic boxes and I unplugged the freezer, plugged in the infra-red heater and set it off.

Meantime I cleaned and dried all of the contents to remove excess ice from the covers and then washed and cleaned the freezer drawers.

It’s hardly a surprise that there was so little room in the freezer because one of the drawers was half-full of ice. And the shelves were so crammed with ice that they were preventing the drawers from being filled completely.

This is going to be a long job.

While the freezer was unfreezing itself in the bathroom I started to make my pizza.

I’d taken a ball of dough out of the freezer earlier and it had been defrosting for a while. So I kneaded it again to expel the iar and then rolled out out to the right size. Having greased my pizza tray, I dropped it in and where it overhung, I folded over the edges.

Vegan Pizza Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter the dough had been standing for an hour or so and gone nice and springy, I added the ingredients. Tomato sauce base, then sliced tomato, diced onion, diced mushrooms, diced peppers, sliced garlic, herbs (I use oregano, basil and tarragon), freshly ground black pepper and grated chees. I’d switched the oven on as I started so by now it was nice and hot so I stuck the pizza in.

And here’s the finished product. It looked beautiful and it tasted really good too. I seem to have acquired the knack of making these pizzas too now and I’m quite pleased with this. No pudding tonight because I’m full up with the pizza. I don’t want to overdo things.

By now the freezer had defrosted completely so I tipped out the water, dried it all off and put everything back. There’s plenty of room now in the freezer and there will be even more now that I know what is in there and what I can eat. Enough fruit pies to sink a ship, I reckon.

Another good job well done.

Night Rainstorm Storm Alex Place d'Armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBy now it was time to go out for my evening walk.

But I needn’t have bothered because I only made about 200 yards before the wind and rain that I’d seen loitering in the distance earlier was now well in position and conspired to drive me back in. All that I managed to do was to take a photograph of my building in the middle of a rainstorm. The wind might not have been as strong as it was yesterday evening but the rain was coming down in buckets and despite my rain gear I was soaked before I even reached the end of the car park.

As I reached the corner at the side of the College Malraux I was hit by several gusts of wind and was totally drenched in rain. That was enough for me so I turned round and came home. I’m glad that I managed to fit in the runs around my circuit this afternoon.

Back here now with my notes written up, I might even treat myself to an early night. I deserve one, and then I’ll be fighting-fit for this week. Off to the hospital on Tuesday and then we’ll see what we will see.

And where we’ll go from there.

Thursday 24th September 2020 – NO PRIZES …

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hall… for guessing what the weather is doing today.

Summer has well and truly gone and we are now full in the grip of autumn. I mentioned yesterday about the winds and perhaps I ought to have added – but regular readers of this rubbish will recall – that not only do we have the highest tides in Europe, we have some of the highest winds too.

Just one look at the dark and rolling sea (whatever happened to the emerald-blue sea that we have been having) and the waves doing their best to clear the sea wall a good hour or two before high tide tells you everything that you need to know.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallWhat else that you need to know – I mean – you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested – is that I beat the third alarm clock out of bed.

After I’d sorted myself out I had a listen to the dictaphone and I was surprised that given the short time that I’d had in bed last night, I’d managed to go so far.

So while you admire a few more photos of the storm that we were having this afternoon, I can tell you all about my various journeys.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was something going on about babies last night. She was feeding them Spam. The two smallest ones had 3.6mm thickness of Spam and the other one had 4mm – it was slightly older. I thought 11.6mm of Spam (so much for my maths when I’m asleep) – that’s less than half an inch between three. They’ll just have their particular size of helping and they are going to be hungry immediately again. Even the woman with me too raised an eyebrow when she heard me talking about the measurements.

Mind you, that could be because she probably didn’t think all that much of my maths either

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallLater on there was a group of us kids larking around last night and and one of them was called Heather or Hilary, something like that. We’d been having an exchange of banter or something then she had to go home for her tea. We all finished talking and so on. Then the subject came up about this girl and I said “I suppose we’ll be seeing her at school tomorrow” to which someone replied “Eric, you’re certainly going to see Heather (or Hilary) tomorrow”. I said “what do you mean?”. He replied “well you’ve arranged a date with her, something like that”. “Have I really? That surprised me”. “Well the way that she was talking when she left she seemed to be of the opinion that that was the case”. So we carried on chatting for a while and the question came round about this girl. I said “I’ll have to find out her school number”. I knew that it was a 4-figure one that ended something like “33” so I asked someone to find it. They found a number that was 5 figures and totally different but in the end someone went and asked this person to have another look and they came up with a number something like 4933. I thought “that must be it so I’ll make a note of that”. As we were chatting a policeman came up. He asked “did you know that there was a cucumber stuck in the lock of your gate?” “What they heck is happening there?”. Someone said that they has seen this Hilary/Heather girl when she went home she took a cucumber with her so she’s probably stuck it in the lock of the gate to make sure that we get it back. The copper said “it doesn’t want to stay there. You want to get it moved”.

storm waves crashing on sea wall port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallThere was another incident later on with a girl with a similar name, a very quiet, shy girl also called Heather or Hilary – I dunno why I got stuck on that name last night. She and her mother and a few people had been around to see us and I’d been chatting to the girl. She was very quiet, very shy but very nice. I was thinking that I might go round to her house to see if she wants to come out for a walk or something. But then we had visitors round and I couldn’t. It got to being rather late, about 20:30. So I found her phone number – my mother knew it so I rang her up. I knew that it was in West Street somewhere. I mumbled her name to see if it was her and it was. I basically said that I was going to come round and invite her for a walk but as we had people round I couldn’t so does she fancy coming round one evening later in the week? She said “yes” which cheered me up. I suggested the following day but she had something on, and the day after that she had something on and it wasn’t convenient and so on. But she seemed keen enough but it didn’t seem to fit for the dates. In the end her mother took the telephone and said “why don’t you come round to our shop? We have a second-hand shop in West Street”. That rang a bell with me because we’d been talking about shop valuations and how they had had a good valuation on their house and how they were going to borrow some money to deal with it. Although the number was something like 475 West Street it was right up at the Hightown end which of course the numbers were the other way round – the lower numbers are at the Hightown end. She said “why don’t you come round here during the day and have a talk to her?”. That seemed to be a much more logical way of going about it if she was keen and her mother was keen enough that I could take her for a walk or something.

So I’ve no idea what was going on last night. Me in my mid-teens (we didn’t move to Crewe until just before my 16th birthday although that’s not significant) chasing after young girls called Heather or Hilary.

And my mother being helpful too – that’s something of a change of lifestyle. I’m surprised that I wasn’t overcome with shock. Normally, if there were any works going on anywhere, all my family usually used to go around and shove spanners in them as a matter of course.

But I definitely seem to be trying to recapture my lost youth right now. And I wish I knew who this poor girl was.

There was still plenty of time to look at the arrears and SHOCK! HORROR! they are all done and out of the way. It serves me right for taking a steam-driven laptop with me when I went away instead of one that works properly.

workman porte st jean rue granville manche normandy france eric hallAfter a shower and a clean-up I went out to the shops.

More activity taking place by the Porte St Jean. One of the workmen fixing the kerb at the edge of the pavement. Probably someone has dislodged it while manoeuvring in a car.

My shopping in LIDL ended up being one of the most expensive that I’ve had. Apart from all of the fresh fruit, it was a sale of motorcycling gear and they had motorcyclists’ thermal winter underwear on sale.

Despite everything, I still have high hopes of going back to the High Arctic one of these days and the thermal underwear that I bought in Canada didn’t seem to do the job as well as I liked. This stuff should be better – at least I hope so.

Before I went, I had half-an-hour to spare (the new dynamic me seems to be still chugging along right now) so I made two bread mixes – a large one with bread flour and cereal and sunflower seeds and a small one with banana, ground almonds, raisins and a banana.

While I was out at the shops I’d left them proofing and when I came back, I kneaded them and left them for the second proof.

To warm up the oven, I baked a rice pudding while the bread was on its second proof.

Once the pudding was cooked and the bread had risen sufficiently I put them both in the oven.

While the loaves were cooking, I diced some ginger very finely and brought it to the boil with a small amount of water and left it to simmer.

There were three kiwis and two lemons that needed eating so I peeled them, whizzed them to a purée in the whizzer and then added them to the ginger and water and left it all to simmer for an hour.

home made bread banana bread rice pudding kiwi lemon ginger cordial place d'armes granville manche normandy france eric hallAt the end of that time (which I’d spent washing up) I took the giner, lemon and kiwi mix off the stove, added two tablespoons of honey and some turmeric, and then whizzed it all into a nice cordial and put it into a nice clean bottle.

By now the bread was cooked so I took it out of the oven. But a minor disaster in that the bread had stuck to the bottom of the mould so it came away in two halves.

Greased or not, this porcelain dish thing that I used isn’t up to the job and I’m going to have to think again

After lunch I attacked the photos from my trip on the Spirit of Conrad and I made good progress. We’re now anchored in the roads at the Ile de Chausey.

And while I was at it, I made a startling discovery. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall the small ship that we’ve seen a few times. It looks like a French government ship except that while the markings are the same, this has white where you would expect to see grey.

But looking at my photos of the Ile de Chausey I found that it was in port and under a microscope I could read her name. She’s called Les Epiettes and she is actually a French Government ship – owned by the Ponts et Chaussées – The Roads and Bridges Department

air sea rescue helicopter Airbus Eurocopter EC-145 f-zbpf granville manche normandy france eric hallThis afternoon I’d hardly set foot out of the door on my afternoon run before I was buzzed yet again by a low-flying aircraft.

Not the red microlight this time – since I commented last week about it, I haven’t seen it since, which is what you’d expect. Today, it was the turn of the Air-Sea Rescue helicopter to get me. Someone there has decided to get his chopper out this afternoon.

And being able to see the serial number today (it was so close that I could even see the pilot’s pimples) which is F-ZBPF, I can tell you that she’s an Airbus Eurocopter EC-145 built in 2003, build number 9012, and owned by the French Securite Civile – although at one time she was registered in Germany.

brittany coast granville manche normandy france eric hallThere were just me and three or four other people out there this afternoon. It really was a wicked wind.

Strangely though, the sky was a lot clearer than I expected it to be even if it was very cloudy too. There was a really good view all the way down the Brittany coast and we could clearly see that those objects that I have thought once or twice might be ships going into St Malo are in fact islands.

The white caps on the waves are quite impressive too, so far out in the bay. We really were taking “a hell of a beating”, just like the England football team did in Norway in 1981.

trawlers chantier navale port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallRound at the chantier navale we’ve had yet more movement

Our Ten Green Bottles have reduced themselves yet again as another one seems to have fallen into the sea We are now down to just four in there today, down from five yesterday and a far cry from the heady days of a week or two ago when there were as many as eight up on blocks.

You’ve seen the storm and the waves so I won’t trouble you any more with any of that. Instead I came on back to the apartment.

Another 4 LPs have been recorded this afternoon, reducing the pile of those. And then there was the hour on the guitars too.

Tea tonight was something different. I’d been giving some thought to the idea of meals when I’m away at Castle Anthrax in 2 weeks time. For some reason, beans and chips came into my head. it ended up being such an overwhelming feeling that tonight I cut up a couple of potatoes into chip-like objects and put them in my microwave griller with some olive oil.

While I was at it, I cooked some beans and a burger and that was that. The chips were, well, different but as a substitute for the real thing they really did go down a treat.

Rice pudding for afters of course.

Tonight’s walk was something of a disappointment.

Once more I was the only person out there which was no surprise given the howling gale. Running along the footpath under the walls was no real problem but it was impossible on the Square Maurice Marland. A howling gale hitting me full-on in the face stopped me dead (well, almost) in my tracks halfway across.

boats port de granville harbour manche normandy france eric hallHaving taken a photo of the boats in the tidal harbour, I could just about manage to run all the way home but opening the door was something else. It’s heavy and the wind was doing its best to fight me off.

And now with the notes written up, I’m off to bed. I’ve been feeling much better this last couple of days and I haven’t even crashed out. but I’m not going to push my luck. I’m going to have an early night.

Tomorrow I have no plans so there will be another pile of photos and some more tidying up, that I didn’t do today.

And the place needs it too. i’ve been letting things slide just recently.